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November 26, 2023 | Katelyn Keenehan

New partnership aimed at UTK faculty innovation

The new partnership between TVA and the Baker School represents continued shared goals of advancing knowledge through practical solutions and progress toward a better future.

The Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), received substantial funding from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for a new Distinguished Professorship.

The generous $1 million investment will create the inaugural TVA Distinguished Professor of Energy and Environmental Public Policy, a position to be held by Charles Sims, Director of the Center for Energy, Transportation, and Environmental Policy (CETEP) at the Baker School. He has been at UTK for nearly two decades.

“This award comes after years of hard work by Charles Sims and CETEP to serve the needs of the Tennessee Valley in energy policy research,” said Marianne Wanamaker, Dean of the Baker School. “It takes a full team to do the work that the people of this region and TVA value so much, and Sims is the dedicated leader of that team.”

Wanamaker also highlighted Sims’ leadership role in navigating the  changes in the energy industry, such as shifts in production and consumption, a heightened focus on environmental sustainability, and changes in energy transactions.

This is not the first time TVA and the Baker School, until recently known as the Baker Center, have worked together to make change. The two have collaborated for years on the Valley Pathways study. This study has a goal to decarbonize the Tennessee Valley by 2050. Over the years, TVA has made foundational investments into UTK’s research programs, exceeding $1 million.

TVA’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Lyash, expressed pride in Sims’ selection for the inaugural Distinguished Professorship. He emphasized that this endowment builds on TVA’s history of investing in the Baker School’s energy and environmental research.

“The Baker School is uniquely positioned to develop thought leaders and policy specialists equipped to tackle the complex challenges the energy industry faces, both today and in the future,” said Lyash. “As our landscape, technology and customer expectations shift and evolve, the Baker School faculty’s core commitment to educational innovation will produce graduates poised to navigate and lead the ever-changing world of energy and environmental policy.”


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