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Goals of Moral Forum

Principal Activities and Program Components

The Process of Moral Forum Debate

Why Competitive Team Debate?



Principal Activities


Moral Forum participants collaborate and compete in teams of two.  Each team works out both sides of a controversial “moral” resolution which is publicly released to the campus community in January.  As teams conduct research and write position statements, all are required to attend a five-part lecture series in preparation for two required preliminary debate rounds taking place in March.


Each team must be prepared to argue both affirmative and negative sides of the same resolution.  Concerned with constructing and presenting a logical argument with evidentiary support, each team must also provide the moral/ethical context in which the argument is established, along with an acknowledgment of any ambiguity present in the moral analysis.  Debates also include two cross examination rounds and a summary focus round in which debaters present a persuasive final restatement.


Following the two required Honors College preliminary rounds, teams from all academic disciplines will be invited to compete in a double elimination university-wide tournament.  Judges include UA faculty, alumni, graduate/law students, and community leaders.jessica and mark in library



Program Components


Ethical Argumentation Lecture – The basics of moral argumentation, including logic and reasoning, structuring and organizing persuasive arguments, moral philosophy, and meta-ethical approaches to argumentation are taught by faculty in the Departments of Philosophy and Communication Studies. 


Religiously-based Moral Argumentation Lecture – Detailing both the theological and democratic argument for religious liberty, and articulating the prophetic commitment to thoughtful examination and critique, this lecture discusses bringing religious principles to bear on the pressing ethical problems of contemporary life.


Training in Debate Techniques – Students are provided with practical debate expertise in preparation for the tournament. Assistance will also be provided by members of the UA Debate and Forensics Program, which won its 15th national debate championship in Spring 2004.


Topic-specific Speaker Forum – Notable national figures and UA professors with topic-specific expertise will speak to students and answer questions.


Residence Hall “After Hours” Discussions – Evening discussions between the campus community and Moral Forum representatives, hosted by the Honors Program Student Association.


Preliminary Rounds of Debate Competition – Participation in both an affirmative and negative round of debate fulfills the requirement of Honors College students.


University-wide Tournament – Students from all academic disciplines are invited to participate in a double-elimination tournament, which culminates in a publicly held final debate in March.  Significant scholarship awards will be provided for teams progressing to the semi-final and final rounds of the tournament, as well as to individual debaters who distinguish themselves during the competition.




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