We are committed to engaging students in the public policy process. Inspired by Senator Baker’s values of civility and pragmatism, the Center prepares students for careers in public service through professional development programming, academic opportunities, and service experiences.Through research, teaching, mentorship, and engagement, the Center's student programs seek to provide a forum for exploring democracy and promoting leadership in public service.
Mission:To equip students with the experiences and tools they need to launch meaningful careers.
Vision:Citizens, scholars, and public servants ready to tackle the most pressing public policy problems.
Student Programs include:
Teaching and Mentorship
- Baker Ambassadors
Baker Ambassadors is an action-oriented program that gives students hands-on opportunities in the areas that interest them. From coordinating a voter registration campaign, to hosting candidates for the state's gubernatorial election, to discussing foreign policy with ambassadors and diplomats, students gain invaluable experience and connections. Baker Ambassadors must commit to the principles of civility and integrity in the spirit of Senator Baker and be dedicated to the spirit of public service.
- Baker Scholars
The Baker Scholar program requires students to undertake a multi-year 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.
- Washington Fellows
The Washington Fellows 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.
- Public Policy Analytics Minor
The minor in Policy Analytics is intended to provide skills in employing advanced analytical methods that have become critical to the design, implementation and evaluation of public policy on the part of government agencies, nonprofits, think tanks and researchers. Students are exposed to the foundations of public policy and the policy-making process, analytical tools from economics and political science, quantitative methods and program evaluation techniques.
- Diplomacy Lab with the US State Department
Launched by the Department of State in 2013, Diplomacy Lab is a public-private partnership that enables the State Department to “course-source” research related to foreign policy challenges by harnessing the efforts of students and faculty experts at colleges and universities across the United States. Diplomacy Lab underscores the Department’s commitment to engage the American people in the work of the State Department, and the need to broaden the Department’s research base in response to a proliferation of complex global challenges.
- Vols Vote Intiative
Vols Vote is a University-wide initative focused on voter registration, education, and participation to ensure that All Vols Vote in every election.
Student Programs also supports the following programs through targeted partnerships:
- National Honors and Scholars Program: Rhodes Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Fulbright and Boren Fellowships
- Congressional Internship Program
- Tennessee State Legislative Internship Program
- National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement at the Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics
- Roosevelt Institute
- Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature
- Mock Trial
- Speech and Debate