Cate Morrison discusses the power of debate

Presentation was the first of the 2017-2018 Harrington Forum Lecture Series
By Katy Brown

Cate Morrison, lecturer of communication studies and director of debate at URI, presented “Think! Inquire! Advocate! Teaching Young Arguers to Change the World” at the Harrington Forum lecture series on November 29. The Harrington Forum is a speaker series where faculty and guest lecturers are invited to URI to share their research and work with students, faculty, and friends of the Harrington School.

On November 29, Morrison spoke about the importance of shaping debaters for the future by fostering advocacy and integrating public debate in school systems. Morrison works with the Rhode Island Urban Debate League to give students in under-resourced Providence-area high schools the ability to advocate for themselves and their community.

When asked how public debate could be further integrated into the URI community, Morrison shared she believes teachers should increase the integration of debate within the classroom. She believes it is important to develop conditions for argument in the classroom, because it creates the framework for students to become active citizens. One example of a debate topic she believed would generate student interest at URI is on-campus parking. Morrison said that by increasing the accessibility and topics for debate in the classroom, Harrington students’ interest in debate will be increased.

Morrison’s presentation “Think! Inquire! Advocate! Teaching Young Arguers to Change the World” was the first lecture of the Harrington Forum lecture series this academic year. Scott Kushner, assistant professor of communication studies, is the coordinator of the Harrington Forum lecture series and notes the Harrington School will host three additional lectures this year.