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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


Baker Cafe: What Can We Do About Asian Carp?

Join Dr. Charles Sims, Director of the Energy & Environmental program, for coffee and a discussion on Asian carp. This cafe will focus on the introduction, dispersal, and management of Asian carp with a special focus on the economic strategies currently being attempted in the United States. 
This event will take place on Friday, January 24th from 10:00 to 11:00 am in the Toyota Auditorium and is free and open to the public.  

East TN Newsmakers: Where Are They Now? 

Georgiana Vines, Associate Editor (retired) of the Knoxville News Sentinel, will be visiting the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy for a discussion on her latest book, East Tennessee Newsmakers: Where are they Now? 
Vines pays tribute to remarkable individuals and their contributions to Knoxville. Join us as she shares insight into her inspiration for the collection! Her new book will be available for purchase and a book signing will follow the event. 
This event will take place on Tuesday, February 4th from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in the Toyota Auditorium and is free and open to the public.  

Baker Cafe: Social Media in the Data Economy- Public Interest Concerns 

Join Dr. Candace White, Fellow with the Global Security program and a professor in the College of Communications & Information, UTK for coffee and discussion on understanding the rapidly-evolving data economy based on surveillance capitalism.
To comprehend the impact of social media use on the public interest, it is necessary to examine the business models of companies like Facebook that sell algorithmic-driven, micro-targetable profiles of individuals. The lack of transparency in Facebook's privacy policies is strategic and permitted due to few government regulations. 
This event will take place on Friday, February 7th from 10:00 to 11:00 am in the Toyota Auditorium and is free and open to the public.  

Energy & Environment Forum: Understanding the Role of Micromobility Devices in the Urban Landscape

Georgia State Faculty, Dr. Dierdre Oakley and Karen Johnson, J.D., will be discussing how the rise of dockless electric scooters has disrupted the urban landscape and brought new challenges to Atlanta and cities around the world. This lecture will also discuss the challenges of safely and equitably integrating e-scooters into cities, provide a regulatory overview, and discuss data needed to effectively guide decision making.
This event will take place on Thursday, February 13th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm in the Toyota Auditorium and is free and open to the public.  


Economic Report to the Governor 2020

Dr. Matt Murray, Director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and Associate Director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, has served as the project director since 1994. The Economic Report to the Governor of the State of Tennessee is published annually by the Boyd Center and provides an economic forecast for the state and nation. This report serves as a guide to the state legislature and governor as they plan the yearly budget and account for public service needs. This year's report also highlighted how poor health may be an economic problem for Tennesse in 2020, a chapter co-authored by Dr. Matt Harris in the Boyd Center and Dr. Katie Cahill of the Baker Center. 
Read more about the implications and results from the report here. 

The Future of Privacy Legislation  

Stuart Brotman, J.D. recently published an opinion piece in The Hill, "Why the new robocall law is important for the future of privacy legislation." Brotman discusses how the recently passed federal Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED) demonstrates how privacy legislation can be successfully passed into law with bi-partisan support. Using lessons learned from the creation of TRACED, Brotman predicts how privacy legislation may succeed or fail with the 116th Congress. Read his article here.

Future of Collaboration for AREC and The Howard Baker Center 

In November, the UT Insitute on Agriculture (UTIA) changed its reporting to the Knoxville campus. This change will provide many new opportunities for collaboration and recruitment. As these institutions unify, the Center's Energy & Environment program and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC) will be jointly-hiring for a new faculty position. This new position will work with both the Center and AREC to promote an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research in environmental policy and natural resource management. Candidates are expected to be on campus this spring to interview.


TN Campus Civic Summit 2020

On Friday, February 21st the Leadership & Governance program at The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy will host the TN Campus Civic Summit for the 3rd year. For this event, administrators, faculty, and community partners will convene for a one-day regional summit to examine how Tennessee’s institutions of higher education make civic learning and civic engagement central to their campuses. 
The Tennessee Campus Civic Summit 2020 will address the goals and the strategies needed to reach 100% campus civic participation. Featured speakers this year include: Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, M. David Rudd, Verdis L. Robinson, Felice Nudelman, and Abby Kiesa. 
The deadline to register is Friday, February 14th. The link to register and more information for this event can be found here
Photo of Ring

Congratulations to the New Director of Student Programs, Dr. Jonathan Ring!

Dr. Jonathan Ring has been officially appointed as the new Director of Student Programs for the Baker Center. His academic interests are in international relations, comparative politics, and formal models. His research addresses norm diffusion, the process by which ideas and policies are spread from one country to another. His current work focuses on various human rights policy areas such as personal integrity rights protections, quotas for women’s political representation, and LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws.
Contact him with questions regarding all student programming at the Center.

Get Involved with the Baker Center! 

The Center is a home for civic engagement for students in all programs and at all levels. Through programs, events and lectures, and helpful faculty and staff, the Center aims to help 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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