James Groves

Associate Professor of Engineering / Engineering & Society

James Groves has scholarly interests that lie at the intersection of sustainability, design, and materials science. While working on his Ph.D. in materials science, he co-invented directed vapor deposition technology and subsequently co-founded Directed Vapor Technologies International. In the area of materials science his greatest interest lies in the use of materials for sustainable energy solutions.

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, educating and ultimately employing students in their home communities.

Dr. Groves now focuses his efforts upon undergraduate education in the multidisciplinary area of sustainability and design, with a particular focus upon the materials in sustainable solutions. Working with collaborators, he has developed a simple, structured framework for engineering design and project management. He teaches students how that framework can be used to guide not only the design of solution but also the management of a broader array of professional projects. He also helps students to consider how alignment of their personal values with their project and design activities can increase their opportunity to make a positive impact upon the world.


  • 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 alumni who have made significant achievements and contributions in the early phase of their careers. 2003


  • “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
  • “Integrating ethics and policy into nanotechnology education,” Journal of Nano Education, 4(1-2), pp. 25-32, 2012. M.E. Gorman, N. Swami, J.M.G. Cohoon, J. Groves, K. Squibbs, and P.H. Werhane
  • “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


  • ENGR 1520 Explorations in Engineering (an outreach course for 11th and 12th grade students)
  • ENGR 4010/4020 & GSVS 3010 / 3020 (Sustainable) Design and Development I and II
  • STS 2050 / GSVS 2050 Introduction to Sustainable Energy Systems
  • STS 3050 / GSGS 3050 The Global Context of Clean Energy Materials