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Board of Fellows for Institute of American Civics Appointed

Includes Prominent Names from across the Political Spectrum and US Civic Education

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The Howard Baker Center on the UT Knoxville Campus

University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd announced the members of the recently established nonpartisan Institute of American Civics Board of Fellows today.

Last spring, Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee lawmakers appropriated $6 million to support the institute in the FY22–23 state budget. The institute is located in the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at UT Knoxville, the state’s flagship university campus. It will support statewide efforts to advance civic education and constructive debate and to foster deeper understanding of American government and the principles that contributed to the country’s founding.

Names from across the national political spectrum make up the 13-member Board of Fellows advising the Institute of American Civics at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. The appointed board reflects the spirit of bipartisanship that defines the institute after legislation creating it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“This is an exciting moment at the University of Tennessee. We want to be a beacon of light for civil discourse, viewpoint diversity, and civic engagement,” Boyd said. “We want to thank the governor and General Assembly, and every member of this Board of Fellows who will help advise the Institute of American Civics at the Howard Baker Center as it begins its work in this critical effort.”

“We want to create a venue where people can come together with different opinions, listen to each other, converse, and come to solutions that move our state and country forward,” said University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Chancellor Donde Plowman. “Land-grant universities are going to need to take on an expanded role in supporting American democracy, and we are determined to lead our peers in defining that role. The newly appointed board is a significant step toward that goal.”

By statute, the Board of Fellows must consist of 13 members. At least nine members must be, or have been, tenured professors, administrators, or professors of practice at an institution of US higher education; two members must be distinguished former elected or appointed US officials who, while serving in their former elected or appointed position, must have been affiliated with different political parties; and two members must be members of the Baker Center board.

“Senator Baker knew the health of our democracy relies on robust civic participation and an educated electorate, and his greatest legacy is his conciliation between viewpoints across the political spectrum in pursuit of common ground,” Baker Center Executive Director Marianne Wanamaker said. “The institute is an incredible opportunity to steep another generation in the same principles Senator Baker held dear.”

Appointed by Boyd, the members are:


Elected/Appointed Members from Different Political Parties

  • Phil Bredesen, former Tennessee governor
  • Bill Haslam, former Tennessee governor


Baker Center Board Members

  • A. B. Culvahouse, Of Counsel at O’Melveny & Myers and former US ambassador to Australia, serving as chair
  • Marianne Wanamaker, professor of economics and executive director of the Baker Center, the University of Tennessee


Tenured Professors/Administrators/Professors of Practice in US Higher Education

  • Danielle Allen, professor of government and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University
  • Arthur Brooks, William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School; Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School
  • Daniel Diermeier, chancellor of Vanderbilt University
  • Amy Elias, Chancellor’s Professor, Distinguished Professor of English, and director of the UT Humanities Center, the University of Tennessee
  • Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University
  • Claudia Williamson Kramer, Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise, Professor of Economics, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Jon Meacham, Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Chair in American Presidency and co-chair of the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy, Vanderbilt University
  • Glenn Reynolds, Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law, the University of Tennessee
  • Paul Stumb, president of Cumberland University


Quotes From Tennessee Governors Related to the Institute

Governor Bill Lee, who proposed the Institute of American Civics:
“Tennessee has a robust commitment to civic discourse that starts in our K-12 classrooms and extends to higher education. The Institute of American Civics will serve as a beacon, celebrating American exceptionalism and teaching how responsible, informed citizens strengthen our nation.”
Bill Haslam, former Tennessee Governor and member of the Board of Fellows:
“The bipartisan work of the Institute can be a model for how we bring together different perspectives to wrestle with some of the biggest issues of our time. I am honored to be a part of the university’s historic effort.”
Phil Bredesen, former Tennessee Governor and member of the Board of Fellows:
“We are going to have to do things differently in this country to make progress on meeting our biggest challenges. I look forward to joining hands with this illustrious group to define a new model for civic education and engagement in higher education.”


About the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan public policy center located on the campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The center aims to provide policymakers, citizens, scholars, and students with the information and skills necessary to work effectively within our political system and to serve our local, state, national, and global communities.



Melissa Tindell, UT System

David Smith, Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

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Category: Headlines