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Baker Buzz

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

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New Executive Director

Dr. Marianne Wanamaker in focus standing in front of a blurred Howard Baker Center

Dr. Marianne Wanamaker Appointed as New Executive Director 

Dr. Marianne Wanamaker, associate professor of economics, has been appointed to serve as the Center's new executive director. Her tenure began July 1. Read more here.

A note from the Director

Friends, it is such an honor to be named the 4th director of the Baker Center, a place so dear to so many of us. The Baker Center has come a long way under Dr. Murray’s leadership, and I am proud to be associated with the center’s faculty and staff. 
We are preparing an exciting year of programming and research, capitalizing on our existing strengths and building new ones as well. We look forward to sharing our progress with you. As always, reach out if we can be helpful to your organization. 

My best,
Marianne Wanamaker

Wanamaker is a trusted voice in the economics community at UT and beyond 

A member of the Haslam College of Business faculty since 2009, Wanamaker joins the Center with a host of experiences and accolades where she has served not only the university community but also her country. Recently, she has served on the White House Council of Economic Advisors, as well as the federal American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. Her expertise, stemming from her research in labor economics, education, American economic history, and demography, has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Health, and others agencies. Read more about our new executive director here.


policy studies journal

Policy Studies Journal is a top-cited journal

Policy Studies Journal ranks among the top political science journals as one of the most influential voices on public policy according to the most recent Scopus CiteScores, which keeps track of the number of citations academic journals receive. The journal is edited by the director of the MPPA program and Baker Center fellow Dr. Michael Jones and is published on behalf of the Policy Studies Organization and American Political Science Association. The journal publishes articles by social scientists and other public policy researchers and leaders to address a wide range of public policy issues at all levels of government.
renewable and sustainable energy transition

Energy & Environment Fellow Named Associate Editor of new Energy Journal

Energy & Environment Fellow Dr. David McCollum, a senior researcher with the Electric Power Research Institute, was recently named an Associate Editor of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition Journal. The journal will share "the most interesting and relevant problems, solutions, applications, novel ideas and technologies to support the transition to a low carbon future and achieve our global emissions targets as established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change." McCollum also recently joined the ranks of Reuters' top client scientists. Read more here

Energy & Environment Fellow joins interdisciplinary biodiversity research

Research conducted by a team of economists and ecologists, including Energy and Environment Fellow Dr. Paul Armsworth, used mathematical models to examine the design of markets for biodiversity offsets. The paper with their findings, "Incentivising biodiversity net gain with an offset market" was published in an agricultural and environmental economics journal. Read more here.
water quality

Energy & Environment Fellow presents at London School of Economics seminar

Energy and Environment Fellow Dr. Christian Vossler visited with researchers at the Grantham Institute of the London School of Economics to give a talk titled “Valuing surface water quality improvements: quality measurement, spatial variability, extent of the market, and incentive compatibility”, which highlighted research being funded by a US Environmental Protection Agency grant. Read more about the research here.
Tennessee state capital

CORE-19 continues to provide up-to-date information on COVID-19

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. Researchers at the Center are working closely with the CORE-19 team to create a series of policy briefs forecasting the virus's health and economic impacts. For up-to-date, well-researched information on COVID-19, visit and follow the Baker Center on Twitter for updates on the pandemic @UTBakerCenter


protest for stop AAPI hate

Global Security Program invites students to apply for the DHS Invent2Prevent Initiativ

In partnership with the Office of Asia Engagement, we will soon accept applications for the Invent2Prevent program sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. In the program, a small team of students will design and implement a tool or creative initiative to address discrimination, extremism, and violence against Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the US. Students will have the ability to earn credit, will have access to an operating budget, and could earn the chance to present their work at DHS in Washington, D.C. This opportunity will allow students to gain practical experience in project management, political communication, and public policy while making a difference here on campus, in the community and state, and across the nation! More information can be found here and here. Contact Dr. Jon Ring ( with questions.
clip art city scape in front of a background with pink slips and a

Wanamaker provides interviews for national and local media

Executive Director Dr. Marianne Wanamaker recently shared her expertise on current labor market trends with a variety of local and national media outlets. Get to know the voice of our new director by checking out her interpretation of recent policy moves in Tennessee for NPR's Marketplace or this overview of the current employment situation in the state for Knoxville's WATE. Wanamaker's expertise is also valued within the UT community; recently, she gave a labor market update to UT's employer partners. View the recording here.
US-Philippine relations

Global Security Director Presents on US-Philippine Relations

Director of Global Security Dr. Krista Wiegand presented on international law in the South China Sea and the U.S.-Philippine alliance for the United States-Philippines Indo-Pacific Conversation Series, a webinar hosted by the Pacific Forum, the Foreign Service Institute of the Philippines, and the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. Following the widely attended lecture, Wiegand met with 12 Pacific Forum Young Leaders for an off the record discussion about U.S.-Philippine relations and East Asian security issues. 
SMART logo

SMART Policy Network shares expertise on Substance Use Disorder for WUTC

Member of SMART policy network Dr. Rick Dierenfeldt was interviewed for Scenic Roots on WUTC, an NPR affiliate in Chattanooga, to share his perspective on substance use disorder in rural Tennessee. In the interview, he shares insights from recent research out of the SMART policy network on the impacts of drug use, addiction, incarceration, and more in rural Tennessee. Listen to the full interview here.
Busan Radio station

Global Security fellow interviewed for South Korean morning show 

Global Security Fellow Dr. Brandon Prins was interviewed for Busan, South Korea's Morning Wave radio show to discuss recent sea piracy events around the world. In the interview, Prins compares piracy in East and West Africa and weighs in on the policy options to curb piracy. Listen to the full interview here.

In Memoriam 

In memory: George "Cran" Montgomery, 

It is with the deepest regret that we share the news of the death of George "Cran" Montgomery. Cran worked under Sen. Baker as a foreign policy advisor. Expertise gained in the Senate led to his appointment as Ambassador to Oman by President Reagan in 1985. His full obituary, below, celebrates the life he led.
The son of Knoxville lawyer George D. Montgomery and Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Cranwell Montgomery of Pikeville, TN, Cran graduated from the Webb School of Knoxville, class of 1962.

After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1966, Cran was commissioned as an ensign and spent the next six years as an active duty officer in the United States Navy.  As a young officer in Vietnam, Cran excelled at working with Vietnamese liaisons in joint efforts to intercept arms shipments from the North Vietnamese.  This early experience in diplomacy set the stage for a career focused on international relations.
Gifted with high intelligence, a quiet temperament, and a skill for listening, foreign policy was a natural fit.  After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School in 1975, Cran and his first wife, Sally Hogeboom, moved to Washington, DC, and welcomed their daughter, Erynn Elizabeth. Cran joined the staff of Senator Howard Baker as a foreign policy advisor and began developing a focus on the Middle East.  While working in the Senate, Cran made deep ties with individuals of both his own party and across the aisle.  He respected anyone who approached issues with intellectual honesty and rigor even when they disagreed.
In 1985, Cran was appointed to be US Ambassador to Oman, a position he held for four years.  While in Oman, he met Carol Lanfear, a British artist living and working there.  The two married in 1991 in her home town of Sedbergh, in the Yorkshire Dales of England.
In 1989, Cran returned to Washington, DC, and joined Baker Donelson to practice international law. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and served on the boards of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and the Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee. In 1994 he retired from the Navy Reserve with the rank of Captain.
Throughout his personal life and all phases of his career, words mattered to Cran Montgomery.  He absorbed them in copious amounts of books, newspapers, magazines, and word puzzles.  He used them with conscientious care, speaking and writing with a style that was drily humorous and self-effacing.  He had the remarkable skill of being able to say exactly what he meant without excess.
His future son-in-law once observed that Cran possessed “that heavy quiet that commands,” borrowing a line from the author John le Carré.  However, the often quiet exterior belied a charm and humor that could put people at ease.
In the early 2000s, Cran and Carol returned to East Tennessee, making their home in Concord.  After years of working in Washington and traveling abroad, he had never lost his love for Tennessee and the desire to return.  This afforded them more time with family and friends.  Cran was able to work on his tennis game and spend endless hours on his boat, Morning Watch.  Cruelly, several years ago, dementia began to rob him of those things he loved most.
Besides his many friends scattered near and far across the globe, Cran leaves behind his beloved family: his wife, Carol Lanfear Montgomery; his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Scollard; and granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Scollard. 

Student Engagement

Baker students with sen. lamar alexander

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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