In Search of Intelligent Debate


Democracy is only as strong as the discourse and decision-making of its citizens, yet across the world, individuals are increasingly unable to resolve or mediate competing claims. This course will teach students how to elevate the state of our discourse whether across the dinner table, in the classroom or on the national stage.

Students will examine the history of US debate, analyze different debates and techniques, and learn how to construct reasoned, fact-based arguments. Students will hear from experienced debaters and moderators from the national stage and will work in teams to research and produce a final debate project.

On the first day of class, for the final debate project, students will choose a topic and create a proposition to be debated. Students will be divided into teams of two or four and will be assigned one side of the argument to prepare. Each team will debate on Friday (outside of the classroom), in front of classmates and guests, with a moderator, microphones and a camera recording the debates. In the live debate you will use your public speaking tools, and have researched and learned both sides of the topic. Format includes opening remarks, rebuttals, Q&A with the moderator and a short closing statement.

Please visit the Office of the Registrar for more information about this course.