The new Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs has expanded two of its programs into full-blown research centers that study and advise on matters of national importance.
The Baker School, a new college at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, celebrated the Center for National Security and Foreign Affairs and the Center for Energy, Transportation, and Environmental Policy with a research symposium Sept. 29.
These research centers are the newest additions to the Baker School, which officially launched in July. Located at 1640 Cumberland Ave., the school focuses on developing Tennessee's future leaders in government, public policy and public service. It's the first and only school of its kind at any public university in the state.
The Center for National Security and Foreign Affairs will provide insight on national and international security as well as solutions to foreign policy. Areas of research include human rights, wars, terrorism, maritime disputes, foreign policy and more.
The center aims to educate university students and the general public on these topics, with a heavy focus on Indo-Pacific security, specifically the relationship between the U.S. and Japan.
“The creation of NSFA will help us build broader partnerships with experts in a wider range of issue areas that are key challenges to U.S. national security and foreign policy, especially the ever-increasing tensions in the Indo-Pacific region,” Center for National Security and Foreign Affairs director Krista Wiegand said in a press release.
The Center for Energy, Transportation, and Environmental Policy creates policies for life improvements related to energy, transportation and the environment. Its list of partners includes not only UT scholars but also individuals from every level of government, the nonprofit sector, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee Valley Authority and industry representatives.
Its research focuses on natural, social and physical sciences within water pollution, renewable energy, nuclear energy and climate change.
“CETEP will expand the Baker School’s role as a nationally recognized hub, convener and knowledge generator,” the center's director Charles Sims said in a press release. “We’ll educate and train a new generation of bright and talented undergraduate and graduate students for careers in environmental, transportation and energy policy."
The two centers were formerly known as the Global Security Program and the Energy and Environment Program, respectively, when the school was still the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.
"Our purpose in becoming centers is really to expand our work, what we can do, in terms of policy engagement, policy relevant research, grant funded research and engaging more with scholars, units on campus, people off-campus, other partners," Wiegand said. "We were very small when we were working here as programs for many years."
"Now, we are growing as centers and we'll have a lot more ability to promote policy, relevant research and engagement outreach and education," Wiegand said.
The Baker School is hiring multiple faculty to fulfill these research missions.
The Baker School is one of three new colleges this year, joining the College of Music and the College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies.
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This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: University Tennessee Baker School expands national security research