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Baker Buzz

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

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Baker Center announcement

Remaining Spring Baker Center Events Canceled due to COVID-19 Outbreak

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and in keeping with the CDC and University policies, all public events to be held at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy are canceled through May 2020. If you have any questions about our event schedule, feel free to contact us at 865-974-8681 or apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We are looking forward to hosting a full schedule of exciting events in Fall 2020. 


Scientific image of COVID-19 virus

Baker Center Researchers Partner with Coronavirus Response Team 

Researchers at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy are working closely with the coronavirus response team at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to create a series of policy briefs forecasting the health and economic impacts of the virus.
The Coronavirus-19 Outbreak Response Experts (CORE-19) team at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is a network of researchers in public health, economics, public policy, agriculture, veterinary medicine, and other disciplines who seek to provide timely information for the public and policymakers on pressing questions regarding the global pandemic.
You can read their first policy brief here, as well as a brief regarding personal protection measures here.  Research questions for the CORE-19 team will be compiled, reviewed, and prioritized daily. Submit a question to the group here.
Headshot of Dr. Lisa Reyes Mason

The Benefits of Public-Impact Scholarship 

Public-Impact Scholarship is urgently needed in academic spaces today, according to Energy & Environment Fellow at the Center, Dr. Lisa Reyes Mason. Public-Impact Scholarship is defined as "intentional efforts to create social change through the translation and dissemination of research to nonacademic audiences." In her recent article with Inside Higher Ed, Mason advocates for a change in research culture. She also provides recommendations for academics to contribute to social good and positive policy change. You can read her full article here
Image of endangered salamander

Determining How To Optimize Conservation Spending 

Recent conservation research led by Professor in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Dr. Paul Armsworth and the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Sciences (NIMBios) team was recently published in the Ecological Applications Journal. Armsworth is an Energy & Environment Research Fellow at the Center and Affiliate Faculty with NIMBios at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The research team developed an analytical tool that determines optimal conservation spending to protect the most vulnerable species. Read the full paper here or a summary of the research here.  
Photo from the South Regional Middle East & Islamic Studies Society workshop

Global Security Director Organizes Workshop at Emory University 

Dr. Krista Wiegand, Director of the Global Security Program at the Center and President of South Regional Middle East & Islamic Studies Society, recently co-hosted a workshop on “Islam and Law.” The workshop was held at Emory University in Atlanta on March 6-8, 2020. At the workshop, specialists from Harvard, Cincinnati, Emory, Wake Forest, Indiana, and other universities presented their research, which will be published in a special journal issue next year.
Headshot of Dr. John Nolt

Research Publications on the Ethics of Climate Change 

Dr. John Nolt, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Energy & Environment Research Fellow at the Center, contributed a chapter titled "Climate Change and the Welfare of Life" in the recently published Routledge book, Climate Change Ethics and the Non-human World. Nolt was also recently featured on Minnesota Public Radio in an interview discussing climate change and transportation. The full story can be found here
Book Cover for Why Alliances Fail: Islamist and Leftist Coalitions in North Africa

Success for Recently Published Book from Global Security Fellow

Dr. Matt Buehler's recently published book, Why Alliances Fail: Islamist and Leftist Coalitions in North Africawas reviewed in the journals Perspectives on Politics, Politics and Religion, and Mediterranean Politics. Buehler's book, published by Syracuse University Press in 2018, "explores the circumstances under which stable, enduring alliances are built to contest authoritarian regimes, marshaling evidence from coalitions between North Africa’s Islamists and leftists." The book has received rave reviews from many academics in the field. Buehler is a research fellow with the Global Security Program at the Center.


Headshot of Tim Roberson

Energy & Environment Program Welcomes Two Postdoctoral Fellows 

The Center is pleased to welcome two new postdoctoral research fellows to the Energy & Environment Program.
Tim Roberson is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at the University of Arizona with a focus on environmental and energy economics.  Broadly, his research investigates market decision making by electricity consumers and producers under different regulatory regimes. Roberson believes that studying how electricity consumers and utilities make decisions will inform effective policies for electric utilities now and in the future. 
Headshot of Ben Blachly
Ben Blachly will soon be graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a Ph.D. in environmental economics. His research interests include ecosystem services, risk and uncertainty, nonmarket valuation, environmental federalism, and integrated assessment modeling. He enjoys working with other economists to learn new things and working across disciplines in a variety of contexts.
Headshot of Dr. Benjamin Leard

Joint Position Promoting Collaboration between The Baker Center and AREC 

The Center's Energy & Environment program and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC) will welcome Dr. Benjamin Leard for a new joint faculty position.
Leard is an economist who analyzes environmental policies in the United States including passenger vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards; zero-emissions vehicle programs; electric vehicle subsidies; and emissions trading programs. Prior to joining the University of Tennessee, Leard was a fellow at Resources for the Future in Washington, D.C. He completed his Ph.D. in applied economics at Cornell University in 2014 and earned a B.S. in economics and mathematics from James Madison University in 2008. 
In this new position, Leard will work with both the Center and AREC to promote an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research in environmental policy and natural resource management. 
Washington Program Students Walking with Senator Lamar Alexandar

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. Learn more at

Here are some ways you can get involved: 
Contact Us
Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy
1640 Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0931
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