Julie M. Novak
My approach to learning and research takes theory and infuses it with praxis or praxis and infuses it with theory to mediate a better world. I agree with Swartz (1997) by defining better "as a world that is less cruel and more compassionate, a world in which knowledge is created to meet human needs and not the economic interests of the professional, business, and intellectual classes. . . Knowledge should affirm life and cultivate human happiness" (p. 55).
Area of Expertise
Dr. Novak's research focuses broadly on applied communication within health contexts. While she frequently asks questions from an critical interpretive perspective, she approaches research by focusing on the pragmatic questions and readily employs a mixed-method design.
Presently, she is working on risk and crisis communication issues pertaining to health and food safety. Some current projects include (1) working with Middle Eastern and Arab American communities in the Detroit area to understand risk perceptions and helpful communication strategies for under-represented populations; (2) analyzing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's response to and organizational learning from the Anthrax Crisis in 2001, and (3) developing models for assessing and managing risk communication during food borne illness outbreaks and crises.
Ongoing research focuses on the nature and role of democratic communication practices in organizations situated in high risk conditions.
Additionally, she is exploring issues of disability through narrative and autoethnographic analyses.
Awards & Honors
2009 Faculty Summer Research Support Fellowship, Wayne State University
2008 Dean's Creative/Research Grant, Wayne State University,
2008 Federation Prize, Central States Communication Association
2007 The Bernard Brock Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Communication, Wayne State University
2006 The Harriet Dowdell Bantz, Sandra Petronio & Charles R. Bantz Faculty Research Award, Wayne
For three consecutive years, Dr. Novak has received top paper honors at the National Communication Association conference.
Applied Communication Division, 2007.
Disabilities Issues Caucus, 2006
Health Communication Division, 2005
Degrees and Certifications
Ph.D., North Dakota State University
M.S., Cornell University
B.S. & B.A., University of Minnesota
Primary Research Interest
Applied communication within health contexts, risk and crisis communication issues pertaining to health and food safety, nature and role of democratic communication practices in organizations situated in high risk conditions, issues of disability through narrative and autoethnographic analyses
Seeger, M. W., & Novak, J. M. (2010). Modeling the recall and warning process in the foodborne contamination event: Perspectives from disaster warnings and crisis communication. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, 28, 115-144.