Jake Grohs, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
375 Goodwin Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061




Ph.D. Curriculum and Instruction, Virginia Tech, 2015
M.A.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, Virginia Tech, 2012
M.S. Engineering Mechanics, Virginia Tech, 2009
B.S. Engineering Science & Mechanics, Virginia Tech, 2008

Research Interests:

  • Systems Thinking/Problem Solving
  • Metacognition
  • Student Agency in Learning
  • Socio-ethical competencies
  • Faculty Development

Systems Thinking and Problem Solving Competencies - development of novel measures to understand how students reason through the setting and solving of complex ill-structured problems; design of learning environments that cultivate technical expertise in the context of significant social, political, and ethical dimensions of complex social problems * Critical -General Education Competencies - development and assessment of meta- level skills (e.g. reflective skills, metacognition, self-regulation, perspective taking); development and assessment of socio-ethical competencies (e.g. diversity attitudes, community orientation); the role of community-engaged learning experiences in academic, social, and civic identity development

I am most interested in the study and practice of teaching/learning environments, particularly within a STEM context, that seek to (a) cultivate meta-cognitive skills while learning disciplinary content; (b) create a community of co-educators/co- learners rooted in a belief that students are emerging colleagues; and (c) highlight connections among disciplines, future professional lives, and the broader community to foster individualized, contextual assembly of knowledge.


Dr. Jake Grohs joins the Department of Engineering Education as an Assistant Professor and affiliate faculty member to both Learning Science and Technologies and Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics. He most recently served as a full-time instructor in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics teaching large sections of Statics and Mechanics of Deformable Bodies. In a prior role as the Associate Director for Engaged Learning and Scholarship for VT Engage: The Community Learning Collaborative, he was the lead faculty member for the SERVE Living Learning Community and taught the associated LDRS 1015-1016: Exploring Citizen Leadership course series. Grohs is also affiliate faculty members for both Learning Science and Technologies and Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics.

Grohs' research interests focus primarily on understanding how individuals reason through complex ill-structured problems and the educational environments that support such capacities. With such interests, he also studies metacognition, student agency in learning, development of socio-ethical competencies, and ways to work with faculty to cultivate such skills. He was a recipient of the 2015 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU), was a Global Perspectives Fellow with the Graduate School, and actively serves as a Senior Fellow for the Honors Residential College. In his personal life, Jake is a committed partner and proud father to family Courtney, Jude, and Crosby.

Awards & Honors:

  • AAC&U: K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award
  • Global Perspectives Program Fellow Favorite Faculty (student nominated) 2012-2014
  • University Student Leadership Awards - Hokie Community Award (faculty)
  • College of Engineering Outstanding Master's Student
  • YMCA at VT Golden Triangle Recipient for years of leadership/service
  • Resident Advisor of the Year, National Residence Hall Honorary College of Engineering Dean's Scholar 2004-2007
  • McAllister Leadership Scholarship SEC Nathaniel Gebreyes Service Scholarship

Selected Publications:

  • Adams, A.N., Brock, R.J., Gordon, K.A., Grohs, J.R., & Kirk, G.R. (2014). Service, dialogue, and reflection as foundational elements in a living learning community. Journal of College and Character, 15(3), p 163-171. doi:10.1515/jcc-2014-0021
  • Grohs, J.R. (2012). Carefully, thoughtfully exploring the "I" in reciprocity: Practitioner reflections in striving for self-authoring student-citizens. Journal of College and Character, 13(3), p 1-7. doi:10.1515/jcc-2012-1886
  • Grohs, J.R. (2012). The ideal engaged citizen?. Community Works Journal. Retrieved from http://www.comunityworksinstitute.org/cwjonline/articles/index.html