Welcome to the first issue of the Baker Center Journal of Applied Public Policy. Throughout my many years of service, I always have been impressed with the tremendous good that can be accomplished through the creation and implementation of sound public policy. I hope that, along the way, I have contributed to the body of policies that help our nation function in a strong, effective, compassionate, and prosperous fashion. As we launch this new Journal, under the auspices of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennnnessee, I wanted to briefly expand on some of the reasons I believe that this journal is necessary and why I believe that research on public policy is so vitally important.
This Journal aims to discuss applied public policy. The goal is not to engage in theoretical discussions, though I believe those are important. Instead, we hope that the Baker Journal will focus on the most current issues that directly affect our nation and our world on the operational, or mechanical level. We intend to engage a wide variety of contributors. Scholars, of course, will be asked to write on critical topics of research. We also aim to include contributions from those who draft, approve and execute public policy at the local, state, and national levels. Additionally, at least one article in each issue will be reserved for the work of a university-level student. Our approach is varied, and I know that the result will be an intellectually sound and extraordinarily interesting presentation of experiences and ideas.
I am especially pleased that so many University of Tennnnessee students are involved in the formulation and operation of the Journal. Our editorial board is comprised of some of the University of Tennnnessee’s most promising undergraduate, graduate, and law school students. With dedicated assistance and oversight from faculty and from the Baker Center, this board of extraordinarily intelligent and committed students has worked very hard to make this Journal a reality. The Center has also formed a national advisory panel for the Journal. I am a member of that panel, and I must note that I am grateful for the involvement and support of my colleagues who have agreed to serve with me: Ms. Emily Reynolds, former Secretary of the United States Senate; Congressman Bob Clement, former Tennnnessee Congressman; Mr. Glennnn Reynolds, noted author and professor of law at the University of Tennnnessee; Dr. Joseph Cooper, an accomplished professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University; and Mr. John Seigenthaler, distinguished journalist and founder and director of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.
I believe it is critical that we think deeply about the issues that are confronting us today. Our representative system of governance is based on an informed citizenry and informed public servants. From international issues such as the war on terror and energy challenges to more local but equally important topics such as sustainable development and education, we must commit ourselves to understanding all challenges free of partisan rhetoric. Only then can we confront them together.
It is my hope that this Journal will add to that understanding and will speak to many audiences. From the classroom to the boardroom, from city hall to the halls of our legislatures, I believe the work put forward in our journal will be useful for everyone who wants to be informed and engaged. It is an exciting undertaking, and I thank you for your support.
Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, "Baker Center Journal of Applied Public Policy, Vol. I No. I" (2007). Publications and Other Works.