Paige Novak headshot

Paige Novak will be the new department head

In July 2022, Paige Novak will step into the role of Head in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Novak came to the department in 1997 and is a professor and the Joseph T. and Rose S. Ling Chair in Environmental Engineering.

As the new head, Novak envisions fostering a culture of enthusiastic discovery, inclusivity, and support within CEGE, while also building on the department’s reputation of excellence. She wants CEGE to be known throughout the country for our outstanding faculty, our strength in data and sustainability sciences, and our strong connections to professional practice and industry. She will work to attract a growing number of diverse undergraduate and graduate students, and new faculty who are diverse and exceptional as researchers, teachers, and leaders.

Her research interest is the biological transformation of hazardous substances in sediment, groundwater, and wastewater, resource recovery, and particularly how engineers can influence these processes.

Novak  received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The University of Virginia and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa. 

Novak has been active in the field throughout her career. She was an Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellow in 2009 and was recently named a Fellow of the NSF-sponsored IAspire Leadership Academy, participating in the program from 2021-2023. She has been the recipient of several awards, including the Sara Evans Woman Scholar/Leader Award (UMN, 2013), the Bill Boyle Educator of the Year Award (Central States Water Environment Association, 2013), the Samuel Arnold Greeley Award (American Society of Civil Engineers, 2011), and the Paul L. Busch Award (The Water Environment Research Foundation, 2007). She was named Fellow of the Water Environment Federation in 2016 and of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors in 2019. From 2013 to 2019 Novak served on the National Research Council’s/National Academy’s Standing Committee on Chemical Demilitarization. She co-directed the Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) Initiative: Advancing Industry, Conserving our Environment from its inception (fall, 2013) until summer 2021. Novak is currently the Editor in Chief of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology.