Claire Connolly Knox, Ph.D. is a Professor and Founding Director of the Master in Emergency and Crisis Management Program in UCF's School of Public Administration. Her research interests include environmental vulnerability and disaster response, environmental policy and planning in coastal zones, and Habermas' critical theory. She teaches Disaster Response and Recovery, Environmental Planning and Policy, Environmental Policy and Management, and Managing Emergencies and Crises courses. Dr. Knox's interdisciplinary research applies a discursive theory lens to language underlying environmental and emergency management plans and policies. This is important because narrative analysis provides alternative explanations for contradictions and anomalies affecting policy change and implementation outcomes.
Dr. Knox’s co-edited book, “Cultural Competency for Emergency and Crisis Management: Concepts, Theories and Case Studies” was published by Routledge in 2020 and received the 2021 Book of the Year Award from the American Society of Public Administration’s Section on Democracy and Social Justice. She has published in high-ranked journals including Public Administration Review, Environmental Politics, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, Administration & Society, Disaster Prevention and Management, and Risk Analysis. She has obtained $5 million in internal and external grants, including a National Science Foundation grant with engineering faculty to measure hurricane evacuation behavior using social media data and subsequently received a grant to update Florida’s State Evacuation Plan.
In 2022, Dr. Knox received UCF’s Research Incentive Award and the Kay C. Goss Innovation and Technology Award at FEMA’s Higher Education Symposium. She was inducted into UCF’s Scroll & Quill Society in 2021. In 2018, Dr. Knox was awarded the Excellence in Professional Service from UCF's College of Health and Public Affairs. In 2016, she received UCF's Research Incentive Award, Teaching Incentive Award, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award. Additionally, her research on Louisiana's coastal zone planning after multiple disasters received the William J. Petak Best Paper Award at ASPA's National Conference from the Section on Emergency and Crisis Management. In 2015, she received the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association's Gary Arnold for her dedication to improving Florida's emergency management community.
Originally from southern Louisiana, she was an Interpretative Specialist at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center for the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act, and then a Planning Assistant with the Lafayette Parish Traffic and Transportation Department. Throughout her time in Louisiana, Dr. Knox held leadership positions in multiple environmental, non-profit organizations that promoted environmental sustainability throughout the city, including petitioning city officials to designate bike lanes throughout the city (project completed in 2006); assisting in reestablishing a university recycling program; and participating in tree plantings, environmental justice, river cleanup, and hazardous waste awareness events. During her graduate studies at Florida State University, she gained valuable emergency management experience at the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Center for Disaster Risk Policy.
She is Past Chair of ASPA's Section for Emergency and Crisis Management, and a Board Member of ASPA's Section on Environmental and Natural Resource Administration. She serves on the editorial board of three journals: Public Administration Review, International Journal of Security, Preparedness, and Resilience Education, and Frontiers in Communication: Disaster Communication. Dr. Knox is also Associate Editor of Natural Hazards Review and the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. She is an expert reviewer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Oregon Sea Grant Program.