Dr Ballinger has a degree in Geography, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and a PhD from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Her thesis, on aspects of heavy metal pollution in soils and plants, led to further work on pollution studies in her early career as a research assistant. However, a move to UWIST in 1987 resulted in her background in pollution and environmental studies being quickly translated into an active teaching and research interest in coastal management.
Over the last decade, and particularly as a member of the Marine and Coastal Environment research group, she has engaged in a quest for model institutional and policy frameworks to deliver Integrated Coastal Management (ICM). Within this period, she has undertaken a variety of research projects on aspects of coastal and estuary management for UK government agencies and others. Some projects, notably those for the Countryside Council for Wales, have been benchmark reviews and analyses of the state of coastal management.
Her academic interest in ICM, which is reflected in a wide range of research papers and publications, has led to the supervision of a number of PhD projects, including ones on organisational and policy matters related to coastal defence, shoreline management and information management. Currently, her interest in non-statutory and participatory processes for ICM is reflected in her postgraduate students' research topics. These include ones on participation and empowerment processes as well as on stakeholder representation within voluntary, regional ICM programmes. Some of these projects involve analysis of overseas experience, particularly in Canada and New Zealand.
Keen to develop more than an academic perspective on coastal management, Rhoda has been heavily and actively involved in the development and day-to-day running of a number of international, national and more local coastal and estuary management projects These include EUROCOAST, CoastNET, Arfordir, and most notably the local Severn Estuary Strategy (SES, recently relocated to EARTH.
Related to the latter, she is currently supervising Stephen Knowles, the Project Assistant, in his MPhil. research investigating evaluation techniques for estuary management, a very topical and potentially influential project for UK ICM. She has been involved with a number of initiatives relating to the teaching of ICM, particularly as part of the EU/US Trans-Atlantic Consortium on the teaching of Integrated Coastal Management and Marine Policy.
These have included a recent research project investigating internship practice in Integrated Coastal Management higher education in the US and Europe with Dr Chandra Lalwani (CARBS). As part of this network she also has recently lectured on UK ICM at the Centre for Marine Policy at the University of Delaware to lecture on UK ICM.
Rhoda also has an interest in many aspects of marine environmental management. She has recently been involved in a number of projects related to waste and pollution impacts of shipping and marinas for WWF (UK) and is currently supervising several PhDs on risk assessment of shipping and marina waste management.