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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


Implications of Slowing Economic Growth for Climate Change and Society

Join us in Toyota Auditorium Energy & Environment Forum with Dr. Matthew Burgess, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He will focus on the impacts of slowing economic growth–a phenomenon that economists widely agree will occur throughout the 21st century–on climate change and society. In his talk, Dr. Burgess will draw on his research, which focuses on understanding economic growth futures and their impacts on climate change and society, mathematical modeling of human-environment systems, and reducing political polarization of environmental issues, especially climate change. 
Join us Thursday, November 4th, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm in Toyota Auditorium. Can't come in person? Attend the event via webcast here
podcast recoding

Live Recording of Advisory Opinions, a Podcast Hosted by David French and Sarah Isgur 

The Center will host journalist David French and attorney Sarah Isgur for a live recording of their podcast Advisory Opinionsa new program from The Dispatch. In each episode, the hosts have a conversation about the law, culture, and why it matters. After a busy week of oral arguments at the Supreme Court, French and Isgur will break down what it all means. The hosts will welcome audience participation and questions. Both Harvard Law graduates, French and Isgur, will offer an elevated but approachable perspective on law, culture, religion, and society. 
This event is free and open to the public. The podcast will be recorded from 5:00 to 6:00 pm on Thursday, November 4th, in Toyota Auditorium. 
gender equa;lity

Baker Cafe: Race, Gender, and Political Representation

Join us for a Baker Cafe on why political representation matters with Dr. Kristen Widner. Professor of Political Science at UT, her research focuses on how policies affect marginalized groups, specifically their right to vote. Widner will offer her expertise from over a decade of practicing law and teaching in public policy and legislative advocacy clinics at Emory Law School. 
Join us via Zoom on Friday, November 5th, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am here
nuclear weapons over the world

U.S Nuclear Weapons and International Law 

Join the Global Security Program in welcoming Alicia Sanders-Zakre from International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons for a virtual lecture on International Law and Nuclear Weapons. 
The United States currently has 5,600 nuclear weapons based around the country and the world, many of them ready to be launched within minutes. Meanwhile, the first international treaty banning nuclear weapons entered into force in early 2021, and the first major meeting of this treaty will take place in March 2022. This lecture will provide an overview of U.S. nuclear weapons and the implications of this new international law for nuclear weapons activities. 
Join us Tuesday, November 16th, from 1:00 to 2:00 am via Zoom. Access the Zoom link here.

Energy & Environment Forum with Dr. Megan Donahue 

Join us for a virtual  Energy & Environment Forum with Dr. Megan Donahue, Associate Researcher and a Marine Community Ecologist at Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology. Her research centers on understanding spatial dynamics and following the effects of spatial heterogeneity in ecological systems. Donahue includes a range of approaches and will talk about her field research, theoretical, and statistical methods of investigating the consequences of spatial behavior on population dynamics. 
Join us Thursday, November 18th, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm virtually. Access the Zoom link here.
appalachian highways

Baker Cafe: Charge Up Appalachia - Strategies to Improve Electric Vehicles Along Tennessee's ADHS Corridors 

Join us for a Virtual Baker Cafe to discuss Electric Vehicles within Appalachia Development Highway System with Dr. Tim Ezzell. Ezzell is a Research Scientist at the UT Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment and teaches UT’s Masters of Public Policy and Administration program.
Since its creation over fifty years ago, the Appalachian Regional Commission has improved transportation across the Appalachian Region by developing the Appalachian Development Highway System. This region-wide system of highway “corridors” has helped improve access and promote development in many of the Region’s rural communities. However, the rising popularity of electric vehicles poses a new challenge to this transportation network. This presentation will encompass Dr. Ezzell and his students' research and conclusion on electric cars related to the Appalachian highways. 
Join us Virtually Friday, November 19th, from 10:00 to 11:00 am. Access the Zoom Link here.

Miss an event? Watch the Recording! 

Catch up on the events you've missed at any time by clicking the links below. 
  • Faith in Politics with author and former TN Legislator Roy Herron, view here.
  • Ashe Lecture with former Amb. Mark Green, view here.
  • Rural-Urban Poverty with Dr. Bob Kronick, view here.
  • Energy & Environment Forum with Dr. Jonathan Gilligan, view here.
  • Coal, Renewables, and the Electric Grid with Dr. J. Scott Holladay, view here. 


Three 3

Non-Profit Awarded Nearly $1 Million Grant 

Baker Center Fellow and current president of the non-profit Three3 Inc., Dr. Bruce Tonn, will be awarded $999,002 to address the research gap between how weatherization and healthy homes interventions affect indoor environment quality and observed variations in asthma outcomes. His team will partner with TVA to apply this research to the metropolitan area of Nashville. You can read more about this project here.
pollution adn not

Social Vulnerability and Environment Quality 

Energy and Environment Fellow Dr. Paul Armsworth recently published a report titled  Associations Between Social Vulnerability and Environmental Quality in the Southeastern United States. This report was in collaboration with a range of University of Tennessee professors from all departments and specializations. You can read the complete report on our website, linked here.
pollution adn not

Which Government Should Manage Ecosystems? 

Energy and Environment Director Dr. Charles Sims co-authored a paper titled, Governance Structure Affects Transboundary Disease Management Under Alternative Objectives. Co-sponsored by the Baker Center and the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.  This paper resulted from a working group on “Ecological Federalism” that included economists, mathematicians, biologists, ecologists, and epidemiologists in determining what level of government is most appropriate for managing ecosystems. Read the full paper here.

Fellow Presents on Piracy For Global Audience

Global Security Fellow Dr. Brandon Prins recently presented his research on the root cause of piracy and how understanding this can lead to learning more about maritime crime. Prins virtually presented to 17 ReCAPP member states, some of which included: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Philippines, United Kingdom, and many others. Read the full article 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

Teaching & Mentorship

Vols Vote Success!

Voting by students at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville increased in the 2020 Presidential Election by nearly 21% from the 2016 figures, reaching a 66% voting rate-- the national average for college student voting in the US. This is the first time since data collection began that UT students have met the national average. These findings are based on the 2020 report by the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement at Tufts University released last week. 
Vols Vote is a campus-wide initiative led by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and the UT Libraries in partnership with the Dean of Students, Student Life, Student Success, and the Student Government Association. If you have questions about voting, please email us at Let's keep up the fantastic work to ensure that ALL VOLS VOTE!
Baker students at graduation

Mayor's Round Table with Students 

This past week, the Public Policy Analytics minor students had the opportunity to talk to Knoxville's Mayor Indya Kincannon about the growing homeless population in Knoxville and how the city is creating change. Isabelle Marshall, PPA minor, said, "having access to some of the most influential professionals who freely share their perspective of working with public policy on the local, state, and federal level is such a benefit" Read more about the round table here. 
ALI 2021-2022 Class

Appalachian Leadership Institute 

The third class (2021-2022) of the Appalachian Leadership Institute launched last month with its first session on the history of the region and foundations of leadership. 
The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a comprehensive leadership and economic development training opportunity for people who live and/or work in Appalachia and are passionate about helping their communities thrive.

Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows participate in an extensive training curriculum developed by the Appalachian Regional Commission in partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact. LLC. 
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:


Baker Ambassador Spotlight

In this month's Baker Buzz, we wanted to highlight one of our favorite student programs. The Baker Ambassador Program, led by Director of Student Programs, Dr. Jon Ring, is for any student willing to commit to civility and be dedicated to public service.
This past month, the ambassadors had events about improving their resumes, a workshop on professional and master programs, and a special event highlighting D.C internships. Check out more about this program 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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