Jun 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Howard H. Baker Jr. School for Public Policy and Public Affairs

Howard H. Baker Jr. School of Public Policy and Public Affairs

Baker Ambassadors – Freshman-Senior Years
Baker Scholars – Junior and Senior Years
Academic Programs

Marianne Wanamaker, Dean
Xuhong Su, Associate Professor, Director of the MPPA Program
Katie Cahill, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives
William Lyons, Director of Policy Partnerships
Jonathan Ring, Director of Student Programs and Services
Charles Sims, Associate Professor of Economics, Director of Energy and Environment Program
Krista Wiegand, Professor of Political Science, Director of Global Security Program
John M. Scheb, Professor
Michael Jones, Associate Professor
Benjamin Leard, Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics


Scheb, John M., PhD – Florida
Wiegand, Krista, PhD – Duke

Associate Professors
Jones, Michael, PhD – Oklahoma
Sims, Charles, PhD – Wyoming
Su, Xuhong, PhD – Georgia

Assistant Professors
Leard, Benjamin PhD – Cornell

The Howard H. Baker Jr. School of Public Policy and Public Affairs is committed to education, student engagement, public outreach, and research in public policy, public administration, and public affairs. Substantive focus areas include Energy, Mobility, and the Environment; Global Security and Foreign Affairs; and Economic and Community Development. The School also houses the Institute of American Civics.

Through degree programs, student initiatives, public lectures, research symposia and research publications, the School aims to provide policymakers, citizens, scholars, and students with the information and skills necessary to work effectively within our political system and to serve our local, state, national, and global communities.

By examining policy and politics through a nonpartisan lens, the Baker School continues the groundbreaking work of its namesake, Senator Howard H. Baker Jr., who was nicknamed, “The Great Conciliator” for his ability to cross party lines and encourage lawmakers to cooperate on key issues affecting the public good. In the spirit of Senator Baker’s work, the School offers a number of public lectures and programs on topics across the political spectrum, with a focus on the areas noted above.

Students with a strong interest in public policy and public affairs can apply to participate in one or more of the following programs over the course of their undergraduate career.

Baker Experience – Freshman-Senior Years

The Baker School places an emphasis on students investing in their professional development. Students are provided with programming related to professionalism, resumes, interviewing, networking, and other career preparation topics. Further, staff and faculty work with students to ensure they have experiential learning opportunities through local, state, and federal government internships and fellowships. Ultimately, students who participate in these professionalism opportunities gain more insight into their interests and confidence to pursue careers in public policy and public affairs.

Baker Living Learning Community – Freshman Year

The Baker Living Learning Community (BLLC) provides first-year students interested in politics and public service with an instant community that will enrich their undergraduate experience. The BLLC is designed for students who want to improve their understanding of our system of governance and public policy within an established mentored student support network. Students accepted into the BLLC live together in a university residence hall and take courses together their first year, which also fulfills Volunteer Core requirements for many majors. BLLC students have monthly socials and bi-weekly professional development events focused on learning about careers and opportunities in public policy.

Baker Ambassadors – Freshman-Senior Years
Students selected to serve as Baker Ambassadors help create, plan, and manage special events in connection with the Baker School. The Ambassador role is action-oriented, whereby students are given hands-on opportunities in the areas that interest them most. Whether through organizing an on-campus debate, encouraging high school students to become involved in the political process, or registering people to vote, ambassadors gain invaluable experience and connections, while providing an important public service. Applications from students at any level are accepted on a rolling basis during the fall and spring semesters.

Washington Fellows – Sophomore-Senior Years; Graduate Students

The Washington Program is a two-week study trip to Washington, D.C. Students meet with Washington insiders including elected officials, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and members of the media. Students explore the political system and experience how individuals work in policy-related fields. Students have the option to receive academic credit through this experience. Students and faculty advisor(s) stay in a residence hall in the middle of D.C.

Baker Scholars – Junior and Senior Years
Since its inception in 2004, the Baker Scholar program has consistently attracted the University of Tennessee’s most academically gifted, politically curious students by offering a unique and meaningful opportunity for engagement in the field of public policy. The central undertaking of each Baker Scholar is a senior project that involves either research on a specific policy issue or implementation of a creative initiative that contributes toward understanding of public policy issues, governance, civic engagement, or public service. Scholars are paired with faculty or professional mentors who serve as resources and help direct their project. In addition to their project work, scholars are strongly encouraged to participate in Baker School events such as guest lectures and conferences, giving scholars the chance to expand their networks of professional contacts and hear first-hand accounts from political insiders. Applications are accepted during each fall semester from rising juniors with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.35.

Howard H. Baker Jr. School of Public Policy and Public Affairs
1640 Cumberland Ave
Knoxville, TN 37996-3340
Phone: 865-974-0931


Academic Programs

Institute of American Civics

Go to information for this department.