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Baker Buzz

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

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Fall 2018 Highlights

10 Year Anniversary Display

Baker Center Celebrates Ten Years 

October of 2018 marked ten years that the Center has provided students and community members alike with a forum to engage with the world around them through public lectures, discussions, and programs. The Center highlighted the life and legacy of Senator Baker through a week-long open house display of archival documents and pictures. 
Bredesen and Blackburn Debate

Baker Center Hosts Final Tennessee Senate Debate

On October 10, 2018, The Baker Center hosted the final debate between Senator Marsha Blackburn and former Governor Phil Bredesen. This debate was broadcasted state-wide with Nexstar Media Group from the Toyota Auditorium and nationwide on C-SPAN.
Audience in the Toyota Auditorium

Lecturers Include Former Ambassadors Steve Mull and Ira Shapiro

Students and community members viewed the world through the lenses of Global Security, Leadership & Governance, and Energy & Environment with the help of many guest lecturers. Topics included such as Iran-US relations, civility and leadership, and rebel insurgencies.

Previous Event Recordings 

2019 Events Preview 

Hands with "help me" written on the palms

Human Trafficking with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Jama Walker of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will make a presentation on Human Trafficking in the state of Tennessee. This event will take place on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 in the Toyota Auditorium from 5:00-6:00 pm. Further information to be announced. The event is free and open to the public.
Gary Machlis picture

Policy and the National Park Service, with Dr. Gary Machlis 

Dr. Gary E. Machlis ,Science Advisor to the Director, National Park Service (NPS), and Professor of Conservation at the University of Idaho, will speak on the agency as part of the Energy and Environment Forum. He is the first scientist appointed to this position with the NPS and he advises the government on policy issues. The public lecture will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2019. Further information will be announced. 
Kristie Kenney picture

Ashe Lecture with Ambassador
Kristie Kenney

As part of the Ashe Lecture series, Ambassador Kristie Kenney will be hosted by the Baker Center's Leadership & Governance Program. The Ashe Lecture Series was established to discuss policy issues affecting our cities, states, nation, and world. This lecture will take place in Toyota Auditorium on Thursday, April 11, 2019 from 5:00-6:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public. Additional details to be announced. 


Rebel Grievances research funded by the National Science Foundation

In August, Dr. Krista Wiegand and Dr. Eric Keels began a new two year data collection project funded by the National Science Foundation. This project is collecting data on the issues and grievances that rebel groups or insurgencies demand as they challenge governments in civil wars, rebellions, and other forms of political violence against the state. Undergraduate Baker Ambassadors and scholars, Bailee Beshires, Greta Roberts, Nathan Timbs, Katherine Harwell, and Hancen Sale are working as coders on this project which will extend through July 2020. 
Krista Wiegand picture

2018 Highlights in Global Security Research 

Dr. Krista Wiegand, Director of the Global Security Program, was involved in several research projects this year on issues ranging from grievances of rebel groups in Africa to dispute resolution in the South China Sea. She published five articles in academic journals and has a forthcoming article that will be published in early 2019. Wiegand is currently wrapping up the data collection phase of a Minerva Department of Defense grant about interstate relations regarding identities of their peoples, and will be working on preparing the data for analysis in 2019. In her spare time, she is writing a co-authored book with Dr. Emilia Powell at Notre Dame University, about the peaceful resolution of territorial and maritime disputes. She plans to complete the book manuscript in 2019. 
Charles Sims picture

2018 Highlights in Energy & Environment Research

Dr. Charles Sims, Director of the Energy & Environment Program, along with Fellows Seong-Hoon Cho and Paul Armsworth, were awarded a grant from the USDA to study how uncertainty in climate and market outcomes influence where and when non-profits and government agencies should invest in conservation.  The study will take 3 years to complete and will focus on conservation investments in Southern Appalachia. In addition, Sims was part of a group awarded a seed grant from the University of Tennessee to study the economic and ecological impacts of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. Sims will be leading efforts to estimate the economic value of the ecosystem services produced by the Urban Wilderness and the economic impact of the Urban Wilderness on surrounding property values. 
Katie Cahill picture

2018 Highlights from Leadership & Governance Research and Activity 

Dr. Katie Cahill, Associate Director of the Baker Center, and Director of the Leadership & Governance Program, has been working with Remote Area Medical, a free mobile medical provider located in Rockford, TN, to asses its community impact. Trinity Health Foundation has recently agreed to fund a experimental field study of RAM's impact in two Appalachian communities. The study will begin in January 2019. Cahill also completed a report on the opioid epidemic in 19 counties for the State of Tennessee, a project that was supported by undergraduate students Bailee Beshires, Gabriel Cole, Greta Roberts, Nathan Timbs, and Wesley Smith. She continues to work on her public health research in low resource settings, including supervising recent Baker Scholar graduate, Avanti Rangnekar. Ragnekar is a Fulbright Scholar in India where she is researching the impact of informal health providers in remote villages.
Cahill also received local and national news media recognition for her work on voting registration efforts in Tennessee, as well as her projections regarding the 2018 elections. She appeared on WBIR's Inside Tennessee program, as well as on WATE and WBIR evening news, on C-SPAN's Booknotes program as part of the network's coverage of the Southern Fall Books Festival, and was quoted by The Knoxville News Sentinel, The Tennessean, The Christian Science Monitor, and Reuters. Data support for the voting project was provided by recent UT graduate and Baker Ambassador, Ricky Goyette


Spring 2019 Class: "Political Radicalization Revisited: Who is at Risk and Why?"

Dr. Brandon Prins, Global Security Fellow,  Why and when do people rebel? What motivates a terrorist? Wha counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism strategies work effectively? When do individuals leave terrorist or armed groups? This course will address these questions by focusing specifically on the causes of, and the conditions surrounding, political violence. Students should register for Political Science 410-004 for the spring semester. The class will be from 11:15-12:05 MWF.
I voted sticker

Baker Center Promotes Voter Registration this Fall before Midterm Elections

Civic engagement is a priority at the Baker Center. This fall, the Center in partnership with other student organizations on campus, registered students across campus to vote. Throughout the fall semester, the Center sponsored voting events, registration and voting information tables all over campus, as well as classroom visits to reach UT students. Additionally, the Center supported voter education efforts with a screening of the "One Vote" documentary with the Campus Events Board, one of the largest student organizations on campus, and produced a short video to explain how to complete a voter registration form. The 2018 voter mid-term turnout among young-people reached record levels for Knox County and the state.
Baker Ambassadors 2018

Baker Ambassadors Program Doubles in Membership the Last Year!

Under the leadership of Dr. Katie Cahill, the Baker Ambassador program has doubled in membership in just one year. Baker Ambassadors are a group of bright, civic-minded students who live out the legacy of Howard Baker. Plans for the next year include policy projects at the University, Knoxville, and state level next year while planning programming through the 2020 elections. 

Student Spotlight

Noah Smith

Baker Ambassador elected to Campbell County School Board

Just a few months ago, Noah Smith, a freshmen Baker Ambassador, wrote letters from his dorm room to his constituents in Campbell County. In the November 2018 election, Smith was elected to the Campbell County School Board. Before attending the University of Tennessee, Noah attended high school in Campbell County. Now, as a 19 year old, Noah will serve the school board as the youngest to be in Campbell County. His election also makes him the youngest person elected to school board in the state of Tennessee. When asked why he decided to run for this position, Noah stated, “The protection of public education is essential to securing the future of our nation and so getting involved at the local level is sometimes the most important”. Noah hopes that by getting involved at such a young age, he will bring a fresh and unique perspective to the school board while also acquiring the knowledge and experience to further his future career. more.
Contact Us
Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy
1640 Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0931
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