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Baker Buzz

News and Events from the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

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Image of a crime scene with yellow-tape

*Happening Tonight* 

Public Square Series - Stop Violence, Save Lives: Evidence-Informed Strategies for Reducing Violent Crime 

Are there “smart-on-crime" strategies that do not involve new laws or large budget commitments? Join us for the first discussion in our Public Square Series with Thomas Abt, an American author, crime researcher, and former government official specializing in evidence-informed approaches to reducing crime in urban areas. Abt will discuss the findings in his book, Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence--and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets, which researches evidence-based, cost-effective strategies to reduce violent crime. 
The Baker Center worked in partnership with the City of Knoxville on the event, which will be held tonight, Wednesday, May 4th, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm in the Toyota Auditorium or through live webcast

Special Guests

Image of Marie Yavanovitch signing a book

Marie Yovanovitch, Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine 

On Monday, May 2, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, joined us for an Ashe Lecture moderated by former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Syria, Margaret Scobey. In case you missed the event, you can watch the recording here. We welcomed 500 guests in person and more than 150 guests online. 
Yovanovitch discussed the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine as well as her own experience working as an ambassador there. The event was followed by a book signing for her newly released memoir, "Lessons From the Edge: A Memoir."

Research & Engagement

Dr. David Greene

Dr. Greene NHTSA Award 

Energy & Environment Senior Fellow Dr. David Greene was awarded the NHTSA Administrator’s Superior Accomplishment Award for incredible work on the CAFE Team, whose members are recognized for outstanding teamwork and dedication to America’s Fuel Economy Standards for Model years 2024-26.

Image of Dr. Marianne Wanamaker being interviewed by Dr. Carole Myers

HealthConnections: Life Expectancy in Tennessee

Executive Director Dr. Marianne Wanamaker discussed life expectancy and its links to health and economic growth with WUOT this month, alongside Dr. Carole Myers
"Life expectancy is a key measure for assessing the health of a population and reflects a myriad of factors related to health and healthcare, such as nutrition and access to health care. It also affects what we call the social drivers of health, the conditions in which we live, work, and play, and our standard of living."
You can listen to the full audio here.
Image of community in the middle east

Chair of Middle East Studies

Global Security Fellow, Dr. Matt Buehler has been elected to serve as Chair of Middle East Studies and its interdisciplinary major for the 2022-2025 period. Middle East Studies goal is to provide students with top-level interdisciplinary training in the history, culture, literature, politics, languages, and religions of the Middle East in order to prepare them for a variety of careers related to this significant region of the world.
Dr. Krista Wiegand meeting in boardroom with students

South Korea’s Role in the Era of a U.S.-China Rivalry

The Global Security Program hosted a workshop titled, “South Korea’s Role in the Era of a U.S.-China Rivalry: Territorial and Maritime Disputes, Alliances, and Regional Security”, at the Baker Center on April 22-24, 2022. The workshop was a part of the research project by Dr. Krista Wiegand, Director of Global Security, and Dr. Sojeong Lee, Global Security Post-doctoral Fellow, funded by a grant from the Korea Foundation. With Wiegand and Lee, several scholars from the U.S. and South Korea joined the workshop in-person and virtually. Participants presented their research and shared thoughts on the U.S.-China power competition, alliances, South Korea’s strategies, and important issues in security and peace in the Korean Peninsula, East Asia, and the Indo-Pacific.
Image of an Industrial Facility

Carbon Cost Efficiency

Energy & Environment Research Fellows, Dr. Seong-Hoon Cho and Dr. Paul Armsworth are both contributors in a recent publication of a Liu et al with Springer Nature on a publication titled "Does a trade-off exist between economic and environmental impact of forest carbon payment programs?" The publication focuses on how effective conservation programs should provide environmental benefits, but also promote local economic growth.
Net Zero World Initiative

Leading the Effort to Build a Net Zero World

David McCollum is a Senior Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and an Energy & Environment Research Fellow. ORNL recently published a profile highlighting McCollum and his work in the Net Zero World Initiative, as well as his recent co-authoring of several chapters in the Sixth Assessment Report. You can find the profile here

Routledge Logo

Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics

Dr. John Nolt, Energy & Environment Research Fellow and Professor Emeritus in Philosophy, recently had a chapter included in the new edition of Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics.

Teaching & Mentorship

Public Policy Minor

Public Policy Analytics Minor

The Public Policy Analytics Minor is offered to students pursuing majors in all colleges. The minor teaches advanced analytical tools and applications of data-driven research for public policy. It is beneficial for students majoring in all backgrounds, especially those preparing for graduate school or careers in public policy. Click here for more information.


Zoe Ward

Student Spotlight 

Zoe Ward is a junior at the university studying Global Health Security and One Health through the College Scholars Program and minoring in the Center's Public Policy Analytics. She is an active Baker Scholar, Baker Ambassador, and research assistant. Zoe is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and is currently part of the core leadership team organizing a One Health Leadership Summit held at the university. This summer, she is studying abroad in Kenya for a Public Health internship and Kiswahili language program through the School of International Training receiving the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to pursue this program. She is using this time abroad to collect data and research for her College Scholars and Baker Scholars thesis on how Rift Valley Fever impacted Sub-Saharan Africa's response to COVID-19.

Meet Us

Dave Smith

Baker Center Staff Spotlight

We want to highlight our new Director of External Affairs, David Smith. Dave joined the Baker Center in late March and is the former director of communications for the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation and former Gov. Bill Haslam.
In this new role, he leads the Baker Center's engagement with outside stakeholders, including policymakers, the media, and the general public. He guides the Center’s digital presence and event programming and serves as an advisor to UT faculty and staff across campus as they seek to share their research with external audiences. 
"We are so fortunate that Dave has agreed to join our team. His experience in policy communications will help us highlight the incredible work UT faculty do each and every day to benefit the state, the country, and our world."                  —Executive Director Marianne Wanamaker
He has already made a great impression on all of us with his hard work on events here and communications across the state!
Washington Fellows Trip

Get Involved with the Baker Center

The Center is a home for civic engagement for students in all disciplines and at all levels. Through programs, events and lectures, and helpful faculty and staff, the Center aims to engage the community on the topics of Global Security, Leadership & Governance, and Energy & Environment. Visit for more information. 
Some ways to get involved with the Center:

Support Us

The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan institute devoted to education and research concerning public policy and civic engagement and made possible by many generous donors including Senator Baker. For more information about the Center and ways to support our efforts go to
Contact Us
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Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy
1640 Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0931
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