Office of the Chancellor

Great Debates

The Great Debates

The Great Debates Series is designed to develop proactive, informed and conscientious citizens and future leaders by providing a forum for respectful and substantive discussion of contentious issues relevant in today’s world. The series will exemplify civil discourse within our campus community through organized debates, hosted by an academic school or administrative unit. The topics selected for debate will be relevant and interesting for students, staff and faculty. A post-debate reception will follow each event so participants can delve deeper into the topic, explore communication styles, or simply enjoy good conversation.

2017 Schedule

Topic: The Future Role of California Under the Trump Administration: Force of Resistance

The inaugural "Great Debate" will feature Professor of Political Science Charles “Tony” Smith and former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

Where: Crystal Cove Auditorium

When: Jan. 31, 6-7:30pm

Workshop series

This workshop series provides students with a unique opportunity to develop skills and ways of thinking about debate, argument, and persuasion in contemporary society. Each expert workshop presenter and facilitator focuses on a particular aspect of debate, from effective listening to considering multiple viewpoints. Join us for an interactive learning experience to help you consider how you might become more persuasive and argue more effectively.

Where: The Writing Center, Ayala Science Library

When: Select Wednesdays, 4-5:30pm

Space is limited. RSVP for the workshop below.

2017 Schedule

Below are the dates for the workshop series. 


    • Jan. 25 – “From Ear to Open Mind: Rhetorical Listening"
      Dr. Daniel Gross, Associate Professor of English and Director of Composition

    • Feb. 8 – “Beyond Pro/Con: Complexity and Nuance in Argument” 
      Amber Clontz, Writing Specialist, Center for Excellence in Writing & Communication

    • Feb. 22 – “Getting Personal: When and How the Personal Matters in Argumentation”
      Kerri McCanna, Writing Specialist, Center for Excellence in Writing & Communication

    • April 5 – “The Standoff: How to Navigate Incompatible Premises” 
      Dr. Brad Queen , LSOE and Associate Director of Composition

    • April 26 – “Where is the Passion?: The Role of Tone and Emotion in Argumentation”
      Dr. Susan C. Jarratt, Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature

    • May 17 – “‘I Respectfully Disagree’: Staying Friends after the Fact”
      Percival Guevarra, Writing Specialist, Center for Excellence in Writing & Communication