​B.S.E. cum laude, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Duke University, 1990​M.S. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia, 1992​Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, University of Virginia, 1998

"My focus is upon undergraduate education, teaching students about sustainable energy, the materials of sustainable energy systems, and design. I emphasize the close coupling between humanity's use of energy and its impact upon people and the planet. I also highlight the emerging economic opportunity associated with falling clean energy prices."

James F. Groves, Associate Professor

James Groves is a leading university educator in the field of sustainble development. In the classroom he engages with students across disciplines and educates them about sustainable energy systems. His overarching goal is to help society avoid the worst impacts of humanity's growing impact upon the natural world around us. His current instructional efforts include Introduction to Sustainable Energy Systems, The Global Context of Clean Energy Materials, and Sustainable Design Thinking I & II.

James Groves' scholarly interests include a focus upon the intersection of engineering education and materials science where his greatest interest lies in the use of materials for sustainable energy solutions. As society transitions to clean energy, will its thirst for the needed materials lead to new, devastating human and environmental impacts?

While working on his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, he co-invented directed vapor deposition technology and subsequently co-founded Directed Vapor Technologies International. His work with directed vapor deposition led to the granting of four U.S. patents and two additional international patents.

Dr. Groves has been active in the scholarly field of design thinking. He has contributed to a national effort to develop a simple, structured framework for design thinking and project management. In several courses he teaches students how that framework can be used to guide the design of a wide array of products and project solutions. In the design arena, he helps students to consider how alignment of their personal values with their project can increase their opportunity to make a positive impact upon the world. He especially enjoys working with students who seek to focus their design thinking on sustainable energy problems and opportunities.

For more than a decade, Dr. Groves administered distance learning in UVA’s engineering school, serving two years as Associate Dean for Online Innovation. Those administrative efforts have translated into broad university adoption of a set of technology solutions that he initially conceived of and designed. They have also allowed the engineering school to now place among the top 15 in multiple rankings of online graduate engineering programs. Dr. Groves was founder of Engineers PRODUCED in Virginia, an initiative which explored the use of state-of-the-art online communication and collaboration solutions for the delivery of undergraduate education to underserved communities. The PRODUCED program demonstrated a strong ability to attract non-traditional, first generation, and low and moderate income students. The program also demonstrated how engineering corporations and higher education could work together for collaborative preparation of students for the workforce without the need for student loan debt, educating and ultimately employing students in their home communities.


  • Hartfield-Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize - For excellence in undergraduate teaching and curriculum development in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia. Jefferson Scholars Foundation, Charlottesville, VA. 2015
  • Leadership in Education Award - For the use of technology to promote and enhance educational opportunities in southern Virginia through the Engineers PRODUCED in Virginia program. Southern Piedmont Technology Council, Danville, VA. 2011
  • Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate Award - To recognize UVA engineering school alumni who have made significant achievements and contributions in the early phase of their careers. 2003

Selected Publications

  • “Directed vapor deposition of electron beam evaporant,” U.S. Patent 5,534,314, Issued 1996. H.N.G. Wadley and J.F. Groves
  • “A process and apparatus for plasma activated depositions in a vacuum,” U.S. Patent 7,014,889, Issued 2006. J.F. Groves, D.D. Hass, H.N.G.Wadley, G. Mattausch, H. Morgner, and S. Schiller
  • “Method and apparatus for efficient application of substrate coating,” U.S. Patent 7,879,411, Issued 2011. D.D. Hass, J.F. Groves, and H.N.G. Wadley
  • “Focused Ion Beam Directed Self-Assembly of Cu2O islands on SrTiO3 (100),” Applied Physics Letters, 84(25), pp. 5213-5215, 2004. Y. Du, S. Atha, R. Hull, J. F. Groves, I. Lyubinetsky, and D. R. Baer
  • “Work-in-Progress – Expansion of an undergraduate engineering degree program to include fully online studies at a distance,” Proceedings of the ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, pp. T4D-1 – T4D-3, 2010. S.L. Moore and J.F. Groves
  • “Using an engineering design process portfolio scoring rubric to structure online high school engineering education,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference, 7 pages, 2014. J.F. Groves, L.R. Abts, G.L. Goldberg
  • "Responsible materials use in sustainable energy systems," Book chapter in Fundamentals in Sustainability, EBSCO, in press, 2020. J.F. Groves

Courses Taught

  • ENGR 2050 / GSVS 2050 Introduction to Sustainable Energy Systems 2018 - present
  • ENGR 2595 / GSVS 2559 The Global Context of Clean Energy Materials 2019 - present
  • ENGR 4010 & 4020 / GSVS 3010 & 3020 Multidisciplinary Design Thinking I and II 2015 - present
  • ENGR 1520 Explorations in Engineering (an outreach course for 11th and 12th grade students) 2005 - present
  • STS 2500 Leadership, Design, and Value(s) 2017
  • MSE 2090 Introduction to the Science and Engineering of Materials 2005 - 2017
  • ENGR 1620 Introduction to Engineering 2004

Featured Grants & Projects

  • GIS resource development for building performance sustainability education

    In support of the University of Virginia student-led Greener Housing Coalition, this small grant will allow a UVA student to spend the summer of 2022 developing a geographic information system (GIS) resource that tracks and visualizes the carbon footprint of off-grounds student residences.