Ken Hunter Honored As TTU's Sissom Award Winner

A Lego building competition, an effectively renovated auditorium and a residence hall for engineering students brought recognition to this year's winner of Tennessee Tech University's Leighton E. Sissom Innovation and Creativity Award, Ken Hunter Sr.

Hunter, director of the university's basic engineering program, is credited by his colleagues for taking the initiative to see three main projects to fruition in the past couple of years: the statewide First Lego League Robotics Competition hosted at Tennessee Tech, the renovation of Clement Hall Auditorium and the implementation of TTU's first College of Engineering Residence Hall Program.

"The Lego competition had a significant positive impact on the city with 500 visitors and on Tennessee Tech with almost 300 potential future students," said Jessica Matson, TTU'S industrial and manufacturing engineering chairperson. "The competition would not have happened without Professor Hunter's vision and energy."

The competition promotes middle school students' interests in science and engineering by requiring student teams to build and program robots. Hunter oversaw the planning, financing, promotion, scheduling and implementation of the program.

When the age, condition and configuration of Clement Hall Auditorium hampered students' potential to learn, Hunter spearheaded efforts to improve the layout, equipment and the overall design of the room. He also was instrumental in implementing the College of Engineering Residence Hall Program serving 150 engineering students each semester. These students have shown improved academic performance compared to those not in the hall, and report a higher level of satisfaction with their residence hall experience.

Hunter was also recognized for his development of an engineering leadership course that incorporates learning activities and the U.S. Army's Leadership Reaction Course to help engineering students learn leadership in the classroom and in the workplace.

The annual award was established to honor Leighton E. Sissom, former dean of TTU's College of Engineering. The award recognizes scholarship, methodology, invention, technique and other contributions within the college.
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