Professors Novak and Revenaugh chosen as new department heads

Both faculty bring decades of experience and service to their leadership positions

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (04/04/2022)—University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering Dean Andrew Alleyne has named Professor Paige Novak as the new head of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering (CEGE). Professor Justin Revenaugh was named the new head of the Winchell School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Both will begin their new duties on July 1, 2022. 

Professor Paige Novak

Professor Novak is an accomplished scholar and demonstrated leader who is passionate about both research and education. She currently holds the Joseph T. and Rose S. Ling Chair in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering. 

Novak specializes in research on the biological transformation of hazardous substances or pollutants. Her research is particularly focused on how external environmental factors influence the biodegradation of these substances and how to enhance biodegradation. She works both in the laboratory and in the field, trying to understand the interactions between microorganisms and environmental conditions such as electron donor concentration and redox conditions.

From 2013-2021, Novak was co-director of the MnDrive Initiative, Advancing Industry, Conserving our Environment (also called MnDRIVE: Environment). She also is a member of the graduate faculty in microbial engineering and a member of the BioTechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota. 

Novak has served on numerous committees for community and professional organizations, as well as the University of Minnesota. Her service at the University of Minnesota includes the Water Council, appointed by the Vice President for Research (co-chair), Institute on the Environment Faculty Leadership Council, University Faculty Senate, and Department Promotion and Tenure Committee (chair).

Novak came to the University of Minnesota in 1997. She received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia and her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Iowa.

Professor Justin Revenaugh

Professor Revenaugh is a respected leader and beloved educator. Revenaugh's area of expertise is seismology. He uses seismic waves and vibrations to understand the structure of the Earth. By sensing at discrete locations he is able to reconstruct images of variations in materials properties deep within the earth. These include faultlines and slab dregs near the core-mantle boundary. Understanding these helps to understand the evolution of the Earth on geological time scales.

Prior efforts included understanding the relationship between near-fault crustal scattering and seismogenesis, characterization of sub-cratonic reflectors, a search for discontinuities in the mid-mantle, detection of mantle water, and probing for ultra-low velocity zones at the base of the mantle

Revenaugh came to the University of Minnesota in 2003. Prior to that he was a professor of Earth Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz and served as director of the Center for the Study of Imaging and Dynamics of the Earth. 

At the University of Minnesota, he has served on a multitude of committees including the Strategic Planning Committee, Campus Curriculum Committee, CSE Consultative Committee (chair), CSE IT Governance Committee (co-chair), Outreach Committee and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. He previously served as Director of Graduate Studies for the department. He also is involved in professional activities, including having served as associate editor of professional journals in his area of expertise.

Revenaugh received his bachelor’s degree in geology/geophysics from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.