The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Baker Buzz

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

Front of the Baker Center building


Roy herron

Faith in Politics with Author and Former TN Legislator Roy Herron

Join the Leadership & Governance program in welcoming author and former Tennessee legislator Roy Herron for a moderated discussion on the topics in his recent book Faith in Politics: Southern Political Battles Past and Present. For four decades, Herron served as a legislator, attorney, teacher, and Methodist minister. This discussion will cover various topics from his experiences and writings and other recurring, contemporary issues. Director of Leadership & Governance Dr. Katie Cahill, Associate Director of the Center, will moderate the discussion. Copies of Faith in Politics, will be on sale at the event.
Join us tonight, Wednesday, October 6th in Toyota Auditorium at the Center from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. You can also connect virtually here. The event is free and open to the public.
voter registration tailgate

Perspectives on U.S. Global Leadership with Ambassador Mark Green

The Center is pleased to welcome Ambassador Mark Green to our Ashe Lecture series. Green currently serves as the President, Director, and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars andformer administrator of USAIDFrom 2007 to 2009, Green represented the U.S. as Ambassador to Tanzania, and he served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Wisconsin’s 8th District. 
The Ashe Lecture series is free and open to the public. Join us from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm tomorrow, Thursday, October 7th in Toyota Auditorium at the Center. Virtual access is available here
empty desks

Rural-Urban Poverty with Dr. Bob Kronick

Join us for a Baker Cafe on Rural-Urban Poverty with Dr. Bob Kronick, Professor of Education Psychology & Counseling. Kronick will offer his expertise from over a decade of experience bringing health, community, and social services to children within their elementary schools through the University Assisted Community Schools program (UACS)
Join us this Friday, October 8th for light refreshments and discussion from 10:00 to 11:00 am in the Toyota Auditorium at the Center. Attend virtually here.

Energy & Environment Forum with Dr. Jonathan Gilligan

Join us for an Energy & Environment Forum with Dr. Jonathan Gilligan, Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University. His research centers on understanding environmental stress in coupled human-natural systems. In interdisciplinary teams of social & behavioral scientists, natural scientists, and engineers, Giligan uses statistical tools and computational modeling to integrate the societal, natural, and constructed aspects of these systems.
Join us Thursday, October 14th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm in the Toyota Auditorium at the Center. Attend the event via webcast here.
energy resources

Coal, Renewables, and the Electric Grid with Dr. J. Scott Holladay

Join us for a Baker Cafe on Coal, Renewables, and the Electric Grid with Energy & Environment Fellow Dr. J. Scott Holladay. Holladay is an associate professor of Economics. His research interests include environmental, energy and international economics.
Join us Friday, October 22nd for light refreshments and discussion from 10:00 to 11:00 am in the Toyota Auditorium at the Center. Access the live webcast for the event here.
bridge in mountains

Joint Fact Finding: Approaches to Bridge the Science-Policy Interface

Join us for an Energy & Environment Forum to discuss approaches to bridge the science-policy interface with Dr. Todd Schenk, Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. Schenk has extensive research and consulting experience working on environmental policy and planning, and collaborative governance issues in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 
Join us Thursday, October 28th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm in the Toyota Auditorium at the Center. Access the live webcast here.
capitol with money

Hijacking the Agenda: Economic Power and Political Influence in the U.S. 

The Center will host Dr. Jana Morgan for a Baker Cafe, where she will present on economic power and political influence in the U.S. Morgan is Professor of Political Science as well as the Politics and International Relations Editor for the Latin American Research Review. In this Baker Cafe she will discuss her research, which uses text analysis of over 500 million words spoken in Congress across two decades along with in-depth analysis of policy processes to demonstrate how economic power influences the congressional agenda and policy outcomes in ways that privilege the wealthy.
Come for the crazy quotes from members of Congress, stay for the insights into power and policymaking. Join us Friday, October 29th from 10:00 to 11:00 am for light refreshments and discussion in the Center's Toyota Auditorium. Join us via webcast here.

Miss an event? Watch the Recording! 

Catch up on the events you've missed at any time 
  • Making Democracy Work: Tennessee Voting Data and Policies with Dr. Katie Cahill:
  • Using Insights from Geocognition Research to Improve Communication of Climate Change Information with Dr. Karen Mcneal from Auburn University:
  • Virtual Global Security Lecture: What Does the Future Hold for NATO? with Dr. Marina Henke from Berlin's Hertie School:
  • Baker Cafe on Rare Earth Elements: Critical Materials, National Security, Dependence on Foreign Sources and Effects on National Security with Dr. Deborah Penchoff:

Celebrating National Voter Registration Month the Best Way We Know How: Registering People to Vote

All throughout September, the Center celebrated its commitment to empowering Tennessee voters. The Center's VolsVote Initiative played a large role in voter education and registration efforts, coordinating with both campus-wide and state-wide initiatives. 

New Voters Registered at Voter Registration Tailgate 

In collaboration with the the Tennessee Secretary of State, Student Government Association and the Knox County Election Commission, the Vols Vote initiative at the Center co-hosted a Voter Registration Tailgate. Student volunteers and volunteers from the League of Women Voters joined representatives from the Secretary of State's office and the election commission before the Tennessee vs. Tennessee Tech home football game to register new voters and to answer questions about voting and voter registration. The tailgate drew a crowd in Vol Village before the game promoting a culture of voting and reminding fans that all Vols Vote! Check out more about the event here!


Minerva initiative

Energy and Environment Director in Collaboration with National Science Foundation 

Director of Energy and Environment Dr. Charles Sims serves as a Co-Principal Investigator on a NSF-funded project to research energy transitions in the southeastern United States. The team includes researchers from UTK and Vanderbilt who specialize in economics, sociology, engineering, and social work. In this project, an interdisciplinary team of researchers will engage with a diverse group of stakeholders representing government, business, community, and civic organizations to develop a proposal for a large-scale research network to identify and address grand challenges to sustainable coupled infrastructure systems serving rural and urban communities. Read the full abstract for the project here
global security logo

Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows Announced

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced 40 Fellows who will be participating in the third class of the  Appalachian Leadership Institute, a partnership between the ARC, the Center, Tuskegee University, and Collective Impact. The class represents Appalachia’s 13 states and includes professionals in a variety of sectors including education, healthcare, economic development, tourism, and others.  As a part of the program, each fellow will participate in an extensive, nine-month series of skill-building seminars featuring regional experts, peer-to-peer learning, and case study analysis. Associate Director Dr. Katie Cahill developed and co-designs and instructs the curriculum for the institute with Leadership & Governance Fellow Dr. Tim Ezzell. Read more about the program and fellows here.
global security logo

Global Security Welcomes Research Assistants 

The Global Security Program is happy to welcome two new research assistants, Dana Abu-Haltam, a Ph.D. student in Political Science, and Abigail Robinson, a junior in Political Science. They will be collecting data on identity claims, working on infographics and dashboards for a data project on rebel group grievances, and collecting data on South Korean-Japanese-Chinese relations. 

Baker Center Fellow Starts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

Energy and Environment Fellow Dr. David McCollum recently began a new position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Previously, he was a senior research scientist at the Electric Power Research Institute. At Oak Ridge, McCollum will be leading the growth of new initiatives in energy-transport systems analysis, integrated assessment, and coupled human-earth systems modeling. In this capacity, he looks forward to collaborating with colleagues at UT. Read more here.
Tennessee state capital

CORE-19 Continues to Provide up-to-date Information on COVID-19

For up-to-date, well-researched information on COVID-19, visit and follow the Baker Center on Twitter for updates on the pandemic @UTBakerCenter

Baker Center In Washington 

Executive Director Dr. Marianne Wanamaker joined Chancellor Donde Plowman, President Randy Boyd, and Carey Whitworth on Captial Hill. Meeting with Senator Bill Hagerty and Representative Chuck Fleischmann. Wanamaker shared, "Federal partnerships are critical to the Baker Center's research and teaching missions. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with so many of our Washington delegation and to hear how the Baker Center can continue to support their work in Washington." 


city of knoxville

Global Security Fellow Exhibition Presentation 

Global Security Fellow Dr. Brandon Prins  recently presented at the American Political Science Association titled "Inter-State Hostility and Maritime Crime: Evidence from Southeast Asia." The exhibition in Seattle, Washington  featured over 2,000 political scientists, presenters, leaders, and professionals within their discipline. Read more here

Former Research Assistant to Teach Undergraduate Environmental Science

Former Student Research Assistant Conny Sidi Kazungu graduated in 2019. Starting in August 2022, she will join the Department of Government & Politics at the University of Maryland as an instructor in the Environmental Science & Policy Program. She will also teach an international relations course in the Applied Political Analytics Program and advise both graduate and undergraduate students. Read more about Kazungu here

Student Engagement

National Voter Registration Day 

Celebrating this year's National Voter Registration Day, The Center, in collaboration with VolsVote, Vols Start Back, and the Student Government Association, held a voter registration drive. The drive successfully registered UT students to vote and raised awareness of the polling location at the Center.
Baker students at graduation

Spring 2022 Congressional Internships 

Interested in public service or looking for a unique opportunity? Applications for Congressional Internships for Spring of 2022 are open! The interest meeting is on November 16th. For more information, click here.
students at an event

Baker Ambassador Program Accepting Applications 

The Baker Ambassador Program provides students an opportunity to help create, plan, and manage special events in connection with the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. Baker Ambassadors must commit to the principles of civility and integrity following the legacy of Senator Baker, and be dedicated to the spirit of public service. Contact Dr. Jon Ring, Director of Student Programs with questions. Learn more here.
Baker students at graduation

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:
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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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