Campus News

Bluegrass Debate Coalition, UK Colleges Partner to Prepare Students for Success

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March. 9, 2022) — In fall of 2021, the Bluegrass Debate Coalition, which is part of the University of Kentucky’s championship intercollegiate debate team in the College of Communication and Information, hosted a guest lecture series featuring speakers from several colleges and schools across UK’s campus.

The goal of the BDC is to provide students with deeper learning opportunities so they can develop real-world skills and grow as responsible leaders in their communities. By inviting lecturers from across UK’s campus to participate in the guest lecture series, the BDC gave students a broader understanding of debate subjects, as well as intellectual and networking tools.

The BDC guest lecture series is hosted virtually, using Zoom, and then made available to the public via the BDC’s YouTube channel.

The first guest lecture featured Clayton Thyne, chair of the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences. He discussed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its relationship with members, particularly the Baltic States. This was Thyne’s second time speaking for the BDC.

“I strongly believe in the mission of this program and was delighted to support its fine work,” Thyne said. “I was blown away by the students’ eagerness to learn and their passion for debate.”

Thyne’s lecture can be found here.

The second guest lecture featured Shane Hadden, deputy chair of students and lecturer in the Department of Finance in the Gatton College of Business and Economics. Hadden discussed United States regulations on cryptocurrency.

“This was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge on cryptocurrency,” a student participant noted. “I learned a lot of facts that I can add to my debate case, and I loved how Professor Hadden simplified things for us to comprehend easily.”

Hadden’s lecture can be found here.

For the third installment of the guest lecture series, Caroline Weber, assistant professor in the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, discussed drug legalization. Weber reviewed the pros and cons of marijuana legalization through the lens of an economist, discussing ideas like taxation and enforcement, as well as potential effects of drug usage.

“I enjoyed the expert insight on why it is important to consider the legalization of drugs,” says Rachna Tibrewal, a parent of two sons who participate in the BDC.

Weber’s lecture can be found here.

The BDC’s collaboration with the Gatton College of Business and Economics, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration demonstrates UK’s commitment to helping the BDC use debate as a vehicle for change in Kentucky education and in the lives of students. Because of this partnership, students across the Commonwealth are becoming better prepared for successful futures.

“Our focus at BDC is enriching students’ lives, and we use debate as the means of achieving this goal,” Bill Eddy, director of the BDC, said. “The BDC is thankful that four colleges came together as one university to give back to the community and provide a deeper learning experience for Kentucky students.”

This spring, the BDC will continue to host its guest lecture series, featuring different topics of interest to debaters. Learn more and register for future lectures at

If you would like to learn more about the BDC and how you can get involved in its efforts to help students thrive, visit its website at

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.