Professional News

The 2024-25 Outstanding Teaching Awards: Jack Groppo

Man in a brown sport coat standing with his hands on a railing
Jack Groppo was nominated for his “passion for mentoring, teaching and transferring knowledge to the younger generation.” Carter Skaggs | UK Photo

Each Wednesday, UKNow is highlighting one of the winners of the University of Kentucky’s 2024-25 Outstanding Teaching Awards, given by the Office for Faculty Advancement with the Office of the Provost.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2024) — Jack Groppo, Ph.D., professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Mining Engineering in the University of Kentucky Stanley and Karen Pigman College of Engineering, is one of nine winners to receive UK’s 2024-25 Outstanding Teaching Awards.

These awards identify and recognize individuals who demonstrate special dedication to student achievement and who are successful in their teaching. Recipients were selected via nomination and reviewed by a selection committee based in the UK Provost’s Office for Faculty Advancement and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching. Groppo is one of three Category 1 winners, which honors regular and special title series faculty members. 

“To even be nominated was an honor,” Groppo said. “To be selected from among the many well-deserving faculty at UK was humbling. I have been touched by the hundreds of former students and colleagues that have sent comments and compliments. I had no idea I was having an impact.”

Groppo first joined the university in 1985 as a staff member at UK’s Center for Applied Energy Research where his work focused on the beneficial use of waste and byproducts from industrial processes. While working at the center, he earned his Ph.D. in mining engineering from UK.

After serving as a guest lecturer for many years, Groppo joined the Department of Mining Engineering as a full professor in 2016.

Groppo teaches, and has developed, courses in topics that expand beyond his college. This includes Conflict Minerals, a multidisciplinary course that explores the geography, geology and technology of minerals mined to fund armed insurrection, feed clandestine markets and exploit local labor. The course gives students a historical perspective on the various conflicts, along with a consideration of the many global diplomatic efforts to curtail these practices.

In 2009, he co-developed the popular Power Generation Technologies course, providing students with the opportunity to learn about the complex technical and policy issues involved with traditional and renewable energy generation.

Most recently, he codeveloped a new course with a junior faculty member titled Sustainable Materials and Recycling Technologies, in conjunction with establishing a new research program on e-waste recycling.

“I have known Dr. Groppo for several years, and one thing clearly stands out: His passion for mentoring, teaching and transferring knowledge to the younger generation,” said Zach Agioutantis, Ph.D., Mining Engineering Foundation professor and chair of the department. “He is always available to talk to the students in class, in the hallways, and at our tailgate events. His office is full of props he uses in his lectures to present concepts and enhance the learning process. Students from several disciplines attend his classes.”

In addition to serving as the director of undergraduate studies, Groppo is the faculty advisor for UK’s student chapter of the Society of Mining Engineers, which has received eight national awards for excellence in service and K-12 STEM educational outreach. He has also received numerous awards for teaching and research over the past three decades. Most recently he was named a 2022 Great Teacher by the UK Alumni Association.


This year’s Outstanding Teaching Awards were given to six faculty and three graduate teaching assistants. Each winner received an award certificate, a commemorative engraved gift and a cash award in recognition of their teaching excellence at a campus ceremony on April 25. Read more here.