UGA Engineering welcomes new faculty

Front of college buildingThe University of Georgia College of Engineering has announced six new faculty members have joined the college for the spring 2016 semester.

“I am extremely pleased with the caliber of our newest faculty members,” said Donald J. Leo, Dean of the UGA College of Engineering. “Their teaching experience and research expertise will be incredibly valuable to our nearly 1,700 students.”

Joining the faculty are Robert A. Baffour, Brian Bledsoe, Leonid Ionov, Sung-Hee (Sonny) Kim, Barbara McCord and Benjamin Thomas.

Robert A. Baffour is a former vice president of the Ghana Technological University College in Accra, Ghana. Dr. Baffour has a PhD in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His teaching has covered a wide range of tops in the civil and geomatics engineering disciplines. His research has been funded by agencies including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy and the World Bank.

Brian Bledsoe comes to the UGA College of Engineering from Colorado State University where he was a professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering and the graduate degree program in ecology. Dr. Bledsoe’s research focuses on the interface between hydrology and ecology with an emphasis on linkages among land use, hydrology, hydraulics, fluvial geomorphology, and aquatic/riparian ecology. He received an NSF CAREER Award in 2006 and served as a Fulbright Scholar in Chile in 2008. Dr. Bledsoe holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University.

Leonid Ionov joins the UGA College of Engineering on joint appointment with the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences, where he is an Assistant Professor of Polymer Science, Fibers and Materials. Prior to joining UGA in 2015, he served as a lecturer at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany. Dr. Ionov earned a PhD in Chemistry and his Habilitation from the Dresden University of Technology. His research interests include polymeric actuators, biomaterials, active polymer surfaces and interfaces, bio-catalysis, and Li-S batteries.

Sung-Hee (Sonny) Kim joins UGA Engineering after serving as an associate professor in Civil and Construction Engineering at Kennesaw State University. Dr. Kim received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. He has conducted research in the fields of pavement materials, geotechnical and transportation engineering and has published more than 40 journal papers and reports on construction material and pavement technology.

Barbara McCord comes to UGA Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology where she served as an instructor in the Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering Departments.  McCord also has worked as a research engineer for Georgia Tech, Johnson Research and Development, Remtech, U.S. Army Missile Command and Black and Veatch.  She received her PhD from Georgia Tech, her MS from Mississippi State University, and her BS from University of California, Berkeley, all in mechanical engineering.

Benjamin Thomas is a Triple Dawg, having earned a BS in Agricultural Engineering, an MS in Biological Engineering and a PhD in Biological/Agricultural Engineering from the University of Georgia. Dr. Thomas is interested in undergraduate engineering education and developing new pedagogy and techniques to improve the learning potential of all students. His research interests include STEM education and the development of imaging systems to enhance biological studies.

The College of Engineering at the University of Georgia is one of the fastest growing engineering programs in the nation. Since its founding in 2012, enrollment has tripled to nearly 1,700 students. The UGA College of Engineering offers eight undergraduate degree programs – including the state’s only programs in agricultural, biochemical and biological engineering – and seven graduate degree programs. As a center for a diverse array of interdisciplinary research, the college has enjoyed a 50 percent increase in annual research awards since 2012.

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