New communication professor kicks off debate program

By London Bradshaw, Contributing Writer 

Sarkey’s Communication Center welcomed Professor Scot Loyd this fall, along with his big dreams for Bison students.

Professor Loyd, who teaches

Dr. Vickie Ellis / The Bison

communication classes, plans to start a competitive debate program at OBU this year.

“The type of debate that I am bringing to OBU is known as public debate, which emphasizes oratory and critical thinking in a unique fashion that isn’t readily apparent in other formats,” said Loyd.

Last Thursday kicked off the grand opening of the debate program. At the meeting, Loyd shared his vision for the future of debate at OBU.

“Our plan is to spend this semester laying a foundation for a debate program that serves our students in the development of critical thinking and communication skills, positions them to be a part of a winning tradition, and ultimately this path will benefit and inspire others and glorify God,” Loyd said.

Loyd said he thinks debate will be extremely helpful for the students participating. Though a few students have joined, the team is still very much open to new people.

“Students will benefit from debate because it will improve their critical thinking and oratory skills immediately, ” Loyd said. “Over time, students involved in debate are uniquely poised to be of greatest benefit to the institutions they choose to serve because they have done the hard work of thinking through the difficult challenges that face our society and world. They have been challenged to not only identify problems but to articulate solutions.”

Dr. Vickie Ellis, the Communications Arts chair, was involved in getting Loyd to OBU to start the debateprogram.

“Dr. Barbe and I have been dreaming over a Bison debate team for years,” Ellis said. “First, we believe that the components involved in debate (critical thinking, research, topic analysis, questioning, speaking, and explaining) complement OBU‘s mission statement in powerful ways.”

Ellis said that Loyd’s ability to teach students debate will ultimately point back to Christ.

“In our program, Professor Loyd emphasizes debaters’ opportunities to use ethical and moral reasoning–reasoning that brings glory to God. Furthermore, the range of both competitors and topics involve the celebration of a diverse world, a world where dynamic clash points back to God’s Truth,” Ellis said.

Overall, debate is good for more than school—it is good for life, Loyd said.

Debate skills are also helpful because it teaches us to control and channel our emotions in positive and useful directions and is the foundation for civil discourse, skills which absolutely need a revival in our culture,” Loyd said.

Laura Hickman, senior communication studies major and member of the new debate team, can hardly wait for the competitions to start.

“I’m so excited that we are finally getting a debate team,” Hickman said. “I’ve been waiting for this since my freshman year, and I think that this will be another stellar opportunity to represent OBU throughout our community.”

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