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UT Hosts Public Issues Forums for Legislative Staff

January 20, 2009

The Center for Effective Leadership at the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service (IPS) will host five public issues forums for legislative staff beginning this week.
The open forums will provide an opportunity for legislators and their staff to learn about issues that affect the quality of life in Tennessee and gain an understanding of matters that may have ramifications for public policy during the 2009 legislative session.
"We listened to leaders of the General Assembly and local governments, and together we identified five topics for which public officials need current accurate assessments and information," said Mary Jinks, UT vice president of public service. "Public policy shapes how we address and manage these issues as a state for the good of the people."
The informal discussions will focus on local government issues, public health, education, workforce issues and energy and the environment. All sessions will be held in room 31 of the Legislative Plaza (LP31), and the sessions will be Webcast and archived at

Here is the schedule:
· Local Government, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., Jan. 21 -- Rick Hall, county government consultant, UT County Technical Assistance Service; Pat Hardy, municipal management consultant, UT Municipal Technical Advisory Service.

· K-12 Education, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Jan. 22 -- Ken Green, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Oak Ridge Schools; Lynnisse Roehrich-Patrick, associate executive director, Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

· Energy and the Environment, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., Jan. 27 -- Dana Christensen, associate laboratory director, Energy and Engineering Sciences Directorate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

· Workforce Issues, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Jan. 28 -- David Penn, associate professor, Department of Economics and Finance, Middle Tennessee State University; Beth Phillips, economic development specialist, UT Institute for Public Service.

· Public Health, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., Jan. 28 -- Pat Wall, chancellor, UT Health Science Center; David M. Mirvis, professor, UT Health Science Center; Cyril Chang, professor of economics, The University of Memphis.

"IPS has provided leadership development programs for state executives for more than 25 years, but these sessions for state legislators are firsts. These brief sessions will provide information that would require days of research to accumulate, and the moderated discussions offer a chance to learn and consider different perspectives without the pressures of the voting arena," said Tom Kohntopp, manager of the Center for Effective Leadership. "It's exciting to take part in educating and informing our state's leaders and to help them make informed decisions."

 Queena Jones, (865) 974-1533,

Elizabeth Davis, (865) 974-5179,