Experts Guide

Oroville Dam

In the wake of the failure of a spillway at California’s Oroville Dam and the evacuation of more than 200,000 people, the issue of dam safety and regulation and their impact on waterways has become an issue around the country.

Thanos Papanicolaou, the Henry Goodrich Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering in UT’s Tickle College of Engineering has won numerous awards on those topics, and has worked closely with governing bodies including TVA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Geological Survey, among others. Read more.

Black History Month

Derek Alderman is an expert in cultural and historical geography, specifically related to public memory, heritage tourism, the civil rights movement, and African-American history. He has researched and written extensively about streets and landmarks named after Martin Luther King Jr. Read more.

Cindy Welch, clinical associate professor within the School of Information Sciences, has expertise in children’s and young adult literature, reading motivation, and working with youth (birth through new adult) in public and school libraries. Check out her list of books to help share Black History Month with children.


Robert LieberthalRobert Lieberthal is an assistant professor in the department of public health. His research focuses on health economics with a particular emphasis on the efficiency and effectiveness of health insurance. He is the author of “What is Health Insurance (Good) For? An Examination of Who Gets It, Who Pays for It, and How to Improve It.” Read more.


Gasoline and Diesel Taxes

Taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel could be going up in order to fill a funding gap between state and federal systems to maintain and update Tennessee’s aging highways and bridges. 

Matthew Murray, director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and associate director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, is an expert in state tax policy and has been studying the impact of fuel taxes in recent years. Read more.

Mark Burton, director of transportation economics at the Center for Transportation Research, helped lead the update of the state’s transportation funding plan, including a review of the gas tax, the changing nature of the revenue model and expenditures, and comparing and contrasting Tennessee’s system with other states. He can address the gas tax proposal, transportation funding, the current status of the system, and future concerns and potential problems. Read more.