Great Debate Toolkit

The Great Debate is an amazing project with support and contributions from a variety of programs, community members, faculty members, and of course, students! This section of the toolkit will introduce you to some of the documents we use to organize and manage this project.

Public Sphere Pedagogy works when we take the important work of students and make it public.  We accomplish this by helping them to develop connections between the classroom and the surrounding community. The Course Related Materials section will help you understand how we incorporate the Great Debate into the curriculum of courses at Chico. One thing to keep in mind for this section is that the best growth is organic growth. Letting faculty find their own ways to build this event into their courses helps to smooth the integration process, and aids in the critical need for faculty buy in. Once faculty members are on board the other parts of course integration become much easier.

The community involvement in the event is covered partially by the section on Moderators. Having non-university/college members of the community involved is one of the things that marks the event as different for the students. They see us as instructors on a regular basis, but when they see political parties registering voters or interact with a community advocate it helps them make a connection between the classroom and the community. We believe this connection is part of what makes them more likely to become civically aware.

Good Publicity is what helped the Chico Great Debate get off the ground in our first event. We worked with the topic of marijuana, which was compelling to multiple press outlets and the local community. This initial press helped us build on a promising event and compelled central administration to get on board.

The Logistics of the Great Debate are handled by faculty and our dedicated student staff. The nuts-and-bolts of the event are outlined in this section which covers everything from staffing, to the scheduling of speeches for students. As our event has grown the role of logistics has increased exponentially. Currently the Great Debate welcomes over 2000 students and community members each semester so tracking and managing these folks requires a lot of front-end work. This section details some of the tactics we use for this task.