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Students walk to class outside of the Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs formally launched on July 1 and features a faculty roster that includes some of the country’s top experts in energy, transportation, national security, politics and foreign affairs.

The school is the first of its kind at a Tennessee public university and grew out of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, which launched in 2003 and provided public programming and critical policy insights on domestic and international challenges.

“Howard Baker’s legacy is more inspiring and more necessary than ever, and we invite all prospective students to come and be part of the solution,” said Marianne Wanamaker, former executive director of the Baker Center and now dean of the school. Wanamaker also serves as a professor of economics. “Our academic and public programs will model productive pluralistic debate, and future students at the Baker School can expect access to firsthand experiences in the world of public service and numerous mentoring and other supportive resources to grow their talents in policy making and public problem-solving.”

Meet the Faculty Experts

Katie Cahill, adjunct assistant professor and senior director of strategic initiatives, has expertise in public health, public policy and public leadership.

Josh Dunn, professor and executive director of the school’s Institute of American Civics, has expertise in American constitutional law and history, education policy, federalism, and freedom of speech and religion.

Bill Haslam, professor of practice, is a former Tennessee governor and has expertise in public leadership and public policy.

Joe Hoagland, adjunct professor and vice president of innovation and research at the Tennessee Valley Authority, has expertise in energy policy, decarbonization strategies and enterprise management.

Michael D. Jones, professor of public policy and public affairs, has expertise in policy theory, cultural narratives and policy processes.

Benjamin Leard, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in UT’s Herbert College of Agriculture, has expertise in transportation policy and decarbonization strategies.

William Lyons, professor emeritus and interim associate director of the Institute of American Civics, has expertise in Tennessee state and local government, American politics and voting behavior.

Matt Murray, research professor, professor of economics in UT’s Haslam College of Business and executive director emeritus of the Baker Center, has expertise in public finance, public policy and economic development.

Donde Plowman, chancellor of UT Knoxville, has expertise in public leadership.

Jonathan Ring, lecturer and director of undergraduate studies, has expertise in international relations, human rights and civil society.

John Scheb, professor of public policy and public affairs and interim associate dean of academic affairs, has expertise in American constitutional law, Tennessee government and politics, administrative law, and civil rights and liberties.

Charles Sims, director of the Center for Energy, Transportation, and Environmental Policy and associate professor of economics in the Haslam College of Business, has expertise in energy and environmental policy, management of renewable resources, and risk and uncertainty in environmental policy.

Xuhong Su, associate professor and director of graduate studies, has expertise in public employment and management, public corruption and whistleblowing, and science and technology policy.

Krista Wiegand, professor of political science and director of the school’s Center for National Security and Foreign Affairs, has expertise in U.S. national security policy and foreign policy in East Asia and the Middle East.

Priscilla Zotti, visiting professor and former dean of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at the U.S. Naval Academy, has expertise in the U.S. military, Supreme Court jurisprudence, comparative search and seizure law, and civil rights and civil liberties.

In addition to its academic programming, the Baker School houses the Institute of American Civics and two research centers: the Center for Energy, Transportation, and Environmental Policy and the Center for National Security and Foreign Affairs, both which have received official designation through the university’s Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development.

About the Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs

The Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs is the first school of its kind at any public university in Tennessee. Its mission is to graduate skilled public problem solvers prepared to take leadership roles as public servants, public administrators, policy analysts, policy entrepreneurs and candidates for public office. It currently offers a master’s degree in public policy and administration which provides networking opportunities and firsthand experiences in the world of public service. The school teaches students to embrace the competition of ideas as a way of reaching more durable solutions and will continue to offer standout student experiences such as the Baker Scholars, the Washington Fellows, and the Japan Ambassadors.


Cindi King (865-974-0937,

Patricia Contic (865-974-3869,