The Barkley Forum Center for Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue strives to embody every aspect of Emory's vision statement. Programmatic decisions are driven by a desire to assist in making Emory a "destination university internationally recognized as an inquiry-driven, ethically engaged, and diverse community, whose members work collaboratively for positive transformation in the world through courageous leadership." Competitive debate, community outreach, and campus engagement activities all support the holistic development of students, helping them to become leaders who change the world for the better.
The Barkley Forum coaching staff includes four active full-time coaches. Students have the opportunity to set up practice debates, practice speeches, and individual and team meetings with any and all of the coaches. Regular meetings occur once a week for the entire squad in addition to weekly meetings for those new to policy debate. More frequent communications occur electronically.
A typical Emory travel schedule is approximately 4 to 5 tournaments each semester. Some students choose to debate less, some more. But 10 to 12 tournaments a year is a normal schedule for most college policy programs. Nearly every college tournament is three days long, either Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
The Barkley Forum is a large, diverse debate squad. Students with previous policy experience as well as students with no debate experience are welcome to join the squad. We encourage students to set goals for themselves and work closely with their coaches to achieve their goals. The size and diversity of the squad reflect the fact that different students have different goals. The atmosphere of the squad leads to long-lasting friendships as students from diverse backgrounds come together to enjoy their debate and academic experiences.
Service Learning Opportunities
As part of its commitment to the Atlanta Urban Debate League, twice a month the Barkley Forum administers a debate tournament for hundreds of middle school and high school students. Each week students and staff of the Barkley Forum teach local middle and high school students the art of debate. Started in the mid-1980s, the program has become a national model for debate as community service with over 25 cities across the United States using the UDL model to expand educational opportunities and facilitate cross-cultural conversations.
Engaging Emory Communities through Debate
We collaborate with other campus organizations to support a formal public debate program. We host several public debates each semester through our affiliation with Eagles Speak, a student organization dedicated to preserving the art of oral communication and public deliberation in our globalized digital age. Our collaborative partners in Community Engagement include:
- Candler School of Theology
- Center for Diversity and Inclusion
- Center for Ethics
- Center for Women
- Committee on Academic Integrity
- Emory Wheel (the student newspaper)
- Office of Health Promotion
- Office of International Student Life
- Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life
- Office of Quality Enhancement Programs
- Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life
- Residence Life
A number of student groups including, the College Council, Alpha Phi Omega (student service organization), and Volunteer Emory among others have also worked on programs with the Barkley Forum Center for Debate Education.