I'm up at the office this morning, and as predicted, it's completely dead.
I'm here for a meeting that should start in about 20 minutes - the meeting is to plan a public debate between the college republicans and college democrats.
Of course I know such a thing has all the markings of a disaster, but I still have to try to make it good. I predict one of the biggest issues at this meeting will be whether or not abortion should be a topic in the debate. What do you bet?
I was also informed that third party perspectives are unwelcome in the debate because they are not recognized student activities. Isn't that fascinating how easily replicable the national view on alternate parties slips into the University organizational structure? Think about it: It takes less effort to exclude alternative viewpoints than to include them, and these same people probably believe we live in a democracy.
I hope to improve the quality of debate and the culture of debate on this campus during my time here. This event is one step in that direction and even if it fails, I think it's necessary to have it. Every public debate done along the principles of fidelity to argumentation instead of fidelity to the truth, fact, or "right" is an improvement, and will hopefully offer students opportunities to make decisions instead of having them handed to them by the authorized thinkers (aka: The Professors).
This makes me think, on my walk over here, that it would be interesting to teach a course called Public Debate, where the students arrange, host and evaluate multiple public debating activities on the campus. The class wouldn't meet that regularly as there would be a lot of running around and planning that could be done during the class meeting time. Anyway, it's something to consider.
In my world - I'm finalizing the last chapter of the dissertation that needs to be fully written, then I have half a chapter left, plus editing and it's done. I'm finalizing the reading list for my course in the fall on Presidential Debating, and I'm also adding additional examples to the paper I'm going to present in Tokyo in August.
On top of this I'm doing some long-range curricular work for debate, teaching at the University of Belgrade in July is the immediate motivation, but I have an eye to the long-term uses of what I create as a "debate method" that I could apply for the new debate students. More on that as I finish the power points. Yes, I'm using power point; I want these to be self-contained units that could be accessed via the Internet. I'll put an example up when I'm finished.