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KNOXVILLE — The four finalists for the job of director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will be visiting campus in May to complete their interviews and participate in public forums.

The schedule for the candidates’ public forums, all to be held in the Toyota Auditorium at the Baker Center, 1640 Cumberland Ave., is:

  • May 5, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Kenneth Richards, associate professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and affiliated associate professor at Maurer School of Law at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.
  • May 6, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. — Christopher Hill, professor and director of the doctoral program in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University in Arlington, Va.
  • May 10, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. — Deborah Taylor Tate, former FCC commissioner and now a distinguished scholar at the Free State Foundation in Washington, D.C.
  • May 19, 2 to 3 p.m. — Carl Pierce, W. Allen Separk Distinguished Professor of Law at UT Knoxville and interim director of the Baker Center.

“Having the Baker Center on our campus is a huge asset to UT Knoxville, our community, our state and our nation,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “Through the Baker Center, UT Knoxville has the opportunity to engage decision-makers about some of the most important issues facing our country, including health policy, global security, energy and environment, and governance studies. And, thanks to the influence of Sen. Howard Baker — who has been called the ‘Great Conciliator’ — we strive to do all of this through civil discourse.”

The Baker Center director will report to the UT chancellor and work closely with Sen. Baker, UT deans and faculty, and with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The director will be expected to develop national visibility and an international reputation for the center, a strong research base in public policy and an interdisciplinary academic program in public policy drawing upon the resources of the university, ORNL, the Knoxville community and the state of Tennessee.

The director will oversee the development of public programs on important public policy topics with nationally known speakers and experts; advance public policy and civics education, and create programs and materials to help teachers; establish nationwide partnerships and provide leadership among congressional centers; develop and maintain first-rate political archives, including an oral history program, and make them accessible to scholars and the public; coordinate fundraising for the center; be a spokesperson for the center with community groups, the media, and at conferences and other events; and promote the museum as an educational resource for the public.

Requirements for the job include a doctorate in an academic discipline related to public policy development or an appropriate terminal degree and equivalent experience with a strong record of achievement; an understanding of the mission of higher education and scholarship; experience in fiscal management; the ability to interact with a diverse and multicultural community; strong written and public speaking skills; and the capacity to develop a five- to 10-year vision for the center.

College of Business Administrator Dean Jan Williams is chairing the committee searching for the Baker Center director.

The Baker Center, which opened at UT in 2003, is a public policy institute integrating research, education, public programming and archives. It develops programs and promotes research to further the public’s knowledge of our system of governance, and to highlight the critical importance of public service, a hallmark of Sen. Baker’s career.

The center opened its new $17 million facility in October 2008. The 53,000-square-foot facility was funded entirely by private dollars and includes the Modern Political Archives, which hold more than 100 collections of political papers from prominent Tennessee leaders. The museum tells the story of how government works using Sen. Baker’s life as a backdrop, explores modern Tennessee politics and engages students and adults in interactive exhibits. A 200-seat auditorium provides a setting for programs, classrooms and break-out rooms for instruction and conferences

For more about the Baker Center, see For more about the director candidates, see

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,