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Baker Buzz

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

Front of the Baker Center building


"Dam Removal and Reoperation in an Age of Complex Hydrosystems" by Dr. Desiree Tullos

The Baker Center welcomes Dr. Desiree Tullos as a featured lecturer for the Energy and Environment lecture series. Dr. Tullos will be presenting her research on the interaction between river engineering and the physical and biological processes of rivers. Dr. Tullos is a professor in the Biological and Ecological Engineering Department at Oregon State University. We hope everyone who wishes to can join us for this insightful lecture. An abstract for the talk can be found here
This event will be held on Thursday, February 15 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm in the Toyota Auditorium. Parking in Vol Hall garage on White Avenue can be validated at the venue. 
"Tackling the Opioid Crisis" with Eric Eyre, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist
The Baker Center will be partnering with the University of Tennessee's ET-ASPA chapter in hosting Pulitzer Prize winner, Eric Eyre. He was awarded the Prize for his courageous reporting to expose opioids flooding into depressed West Virginia counties with the highest overdose death rates in the country. His award-winning articles can be found here
He will be presenting "Tackling the Opioid Crisis" on Friday, February 23 from 1:00 to 2:15 pm in the Toyota Auditorium. Parking in Vol Hall garage on White Avenue can be validated at the venue. 


Baker Center's Energy & Environment Researchers Complete Report on Economic Value of Open Space in Middle Tennessee

In January, researchers from the Baker Center Energy and Environment Program completed a report on the economic value of open space in Middle Tennessee. The study quantified the value of open space origination from five different benefits attributable to open space: 1) economic impact of the agriculture, forestry and tourism sectors of the economy, 2) property value impacts that arise as the houses are located near open space, 3) the human health benefits of open space, 4) the recreation values provided by open space, and 5) the ecosystem service values provided by open space. The report will be publically available in March.
Bredesen Center Logo

Student Publication on Understanding the Clean Power Plan with the Bredesen Center

In August 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule under the Clean Air Act (CAA) that details guidelines for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel-fired electricity generating units (EGUs), commonly referred to as power plants. Each state has the freedom to choose the unit of measurement for their emission reduction plan and said plan must be approved by the EPA. Compared to national 2005 levels, the CPP should result in a 32% reduction in the power sector emissions by 2030.

Read the full publication here: Understanding the Clean Power Plan


Cluster Hires at the University of Tennessee

The University has initiated a process that is to culminate with three “cluster hires,” i.e. three groups of faculty hires that would focus on major research initiatives of national and global importance. Goals include the promotion of scholarship and the generation of external funds to support research.  The research teams must be interdisciplinary.  More information can be found here
Dr. Matt Murray, the Center's Director, served on a task force that evaluated the first set of cluster pre-proposals focused on data science engineering.  The task force made its recommendations in mid-December. Discussions are now underway with ORNL to determine the next steps forward.

Initial proposals for the remaining two clusters are due on March 21. The Baker Center intends to lead one of these proposals and will be named as a partner in other proposals as well.  If successful, this would be an excellent opportunity to raise the research profile of the Baker Center and further increase its interdisciplinary research focus.

Baker Center to Offer Washington Summer Program 

The Center's new Washington Program is a two-week intensive course in Washington, DC. For the program, students will meet and learn from some of the nation's top public servants, researchers, and journalists on pressing public policy issues. 

For the course, students will develop a policy brief on a topic of interest to them. This brief will be shared with relevant guests and as a student publication on the Baker Center's website.
Dr. Katie Cahill, Associate Director of the Baker Center and Assistant Professor of Political Science, will be the primary instructor for the course. Dr. Cahill has led similar programs that resulted in dozens of students obtaining internships and eventually finding careers in DC
Steve Scully, Senior Executive Producer and Political Editor for C-SPAN, will serve as a co-instructor the course. Mr. Scully is a regular host of C-SPAN's Washington Journal Program and served for nine years on the Executive Board for The White House Correspondence Dinner.
The program dates are May 13-26, 2018.
Applications are due Friday, March 2. It is open to UT students of all programs and levels. Please contact Dr. Cahill if you are interested in applying. 

Student Spotlight

Bailee Beshires and Nathan Timbs

Baker Center Students Attend Conference at Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics 

On February 2-4, Baker Center students Bailee Beshires and Nathan Timbs participated in the 2018 National Campaign for Political and Civil Engagement Conference coordinated by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.
The conference focused on catalyzing broader student participation in political dialogue and engagement on college campuses. Participants identified processes and strategies to support open, diverse, and inclusive political conversations that can provide first steps toward reconnecting college students and Americans who often see no common ground.
"The National Campaign was an incredible experience. We were able to meet with students all across the country, discuss issues on our campuses, and give each other advice on new ideas and events," said Bailee Beshires, a junior Baker Ambassador. "It was fascinating to hear students from differing schools all expressing similar issues and concerns. I'm excited to bring all of the new ideas back to the University of Tennessee."
Since 2003, the IOP-led alliance of over 30 colleges and universities has held annual conferences to identify collaborative projects, foster engagement in electoral politics, assist students in pursuing careers in public service, and provide a foundation in civic education. Led by a team of Harvard undergraduate students, the collegiate ambassadors to the National Campaign work together to achieve concrete goals, such as working with local election offices to improve the voting experience for their campus communities. 
"I learned that our nation is indeed divided, but the diverse group of students I had the chance to connect with gave me hope our generation can bring us together," said Nathan Timbs, a junior Baker Scholar and Ambassador. "It was comforting to block out the noise apparent all around us and have civil discourse and respectful arguments."
More information about the conference can be found here
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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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