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Baker Buzz

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

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Baker Highlights

Senator Baker's Remarks on the Clean Air Act, March 9, 2005

"I am enormously pleased to be able to participate in and kick off this retrospective on the Clean Air Act. At least for me and for Bill Ruckelshaus, had he been able to attend, and Leon Billings, it is a retrospective. For many of you here it may be an ongoing responsibility for

which we can provide a perspective...[read more].


Global Security panel discussing "War's Forgotten People: Human Migration and Refugees"

Panelists will include Dr. Curtis Bell, associate director at One Earth Future; Dr. Tricia Hepner, professor of anthropology at UT; Drocella Mugorewera, executive director of Bridge Refugee Services Knoxville; and Dr. Krista Wiegand, professor of political science at UT and director of the Global Security program, who will moderate the panel.
This event will take place on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 from 5:00 to 6:00pm in the Toyota Auditorium. Parking in Vol Hall garage can be validated at the venue. 

“Missing the People for the Trees: the Human role in Lyme Disease” by Dr. Andrew Plantinga

The Baker Center welcomes Dr. Andrew Plantinga as a featured lecturer for the Energy and Environment lecture series. Plantinga is a Professor of Natural Resource Economics and Policy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on the economics of land use, climate change, and forests.

This event will take place on Thursday, April 5, 2018, from 1:00 to 2:30pm in the Baker Center's Toyota Auditorium.  


Creating a Dataset on Civil War, a Global Security Project

A research team for the Baker Center's Global Security program is currently working on something called the Issues in Civil War Dataset (or ICW). The team consists of Dr. Krista Wiegand, director of the Global Security program; Dr. Eric Keels, post-doctoral research fellow; Salena Chowdhury, a sophomore studying Political Science; and Greta Roberts, a junior studying Political Science and History. The data project draws on primary and secondary sources to identify how rebel groups justify their efforts to overthrow the government or fight for secession from the state...[read more

NEW! Policy Research on Energy and the Environment

Director of the Baker Center's Energy & Environment program, Dr. Charles Sims, recently published two White Papers.
Dr. Sims's first White Paper titled, "Reconciling Methods for Measuring U.S. Oil Dependence Costs", delves into the definitions of oil dependence and the economic case for and against various policies intended to address oil dependence. The paper can be found here.
Dr. Sims's second White Paper integrates engineering, economics, and computer science to understand how utilities should respond to an increasing amount of solar generation. The paper titled, "Using Agent-Based Computational Economics to Understand the Evolution of the Electric Grid in Response to Increased Penetration of Distributed Solar Generation", can be found here.

On Peacekeeping Efforts, Policy Research by Dr. Eric Keels

Dr. Eric Keels is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Global Security for the Baker Center. His research explores issues related to democracy, civil war, natural resources, conflict management, and political violence. Specifically, his research focuses on how democratic processes shape the dynamics of civil war.
He was recently featured in an article with One Earth Future (OEF) researcher, Jay Benson. The article titled "A solid investment if you know what you’re getting: Why continued support for UN peacekeeping is good policy for the US" can be found here.
Additionally, Dr. Keels published an article on Cooperation and Conflict. The article titled, "Seeds of Peace? Land Reform and Civil War Recurrence Following Negotiated Settlements" can be found here


Public Policy Analytics

Public Policy Analytics Students to Present Research at EURēCA

Students from the Baker Center's Policy Analytics class will be presenting their research from the semester at the Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement (EURēCA).
EURēCA is an annual event held by the University of Tennessee that showcases research and creative activities by currently enrolled undergraduate students in collaboration with a University or UTIA faculty mentor. Students will have the opportunity to present their research on April 16 – 20, 2018.
Please email Dr. Bill Park ( if you are interested in more information about the minor program. 
How loud is your campus vote?

TN Civic Summit: Conference on Voter Education, Registration, and Participation

Do you want to learn about how to improve voter education, registration, and participation on your campus? Register for the TNCampus Civic Summit, a conference bringing together Tennessee's higher education institutions to learn and share best practices. 
The Summit is being co-hosted by Leadership and Civic Engagement at East Tennessee State UniversityCivicTN, and The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. 
Cost of participation is $20, which includes breakfast, lunch, t-shirt, and materials. Deadline to register will be Monday, April 9. Register here:
This event will take place on Friday, April 20, 2018, from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at the Baker Center.

Understanding Terrorism and Terrorists, Summer Mini-Term

This course, offered by Dr. Brandon Prins, will address questions focusing on the causes of, and the conditions surrounding, political violence. The course will examine social scientific research on the drivers of insurgency, the rise of terrorist groups, the factors associated with radicalization, and efforts to combat violent non-state actors.
The course will be divided into 4 sections:
1. Trends in armed conflict
2. Background theory on why individuals turn to political violence
3. The process of radicalization
4. Countering violent non-state actors
This course will be offered on MTWRF from 1:00 - 4:00pm in room 204 of the Baker Center. Please email Dr. Prins ( if you are interested. 

Student Spotlight

Baker Center Student Spends Semester in Morocco

Greta Roberts is a junior double majoring in political science and history, with a minor in Arab studies. She is also a Baker Ambassador for the Baker Center. 
This spring semester, Greta is studying in Morocco. She says she was initially interested in studying in the Arab world to focus on improving her Arabic language skills, as well as to discover if living abroad is something that she would enjoy after graduation. She chose to study in Morocco for the culture. Greta is living in a smaller city, Meknes, as opposed to more populated city and notes that this has given her the opportunity to truly immerse herself in the culture...[read more]. 

Previous Events

“Narrating the Anthropocene, or, Learning to Live with the Trickster” by Dr. Robin Craig

The Baker Center welcomed Dr. Robin Craig as a featured lecturer for the Energy and Environment lecture series. Craig is a Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City. She is also the acting director of the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment and serves of the Executive Board of the University of Utah’s new Water Center. 
This event took place on Thursday, March 1, 2018, in the Baker Center's Toyota Auditorium. A video of the talk can be found here
Contact Us
Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy
1640 Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0931
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