Campus News

Bluegrass Debate Coalition Expands Support for Debate Education

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 3, 2021) — The Bluegrass Debate Coalition (BDC) is again offering no-cost, online public speaking and debate courses for the children of University of Kentucky’s faculty and staff. The after school debate program is part of a greater outreach from the UK College of Communication and Information aimed at enriching the lives of children across Kentucky. The initiative is helping students develop essential life skills now to substantially improve their self-confidence and their thinking/speaking abilities.

This high-quality debate education experience is designed to be fun, educational and produces valuable life skills that last well beyond their school years. The BDC offers beginner, intermediate and advanced classes featuring a short lesson, group discussion and fun activities to generate new skills. These courses are provided in a virtual environment for safety and convenience.

  • Elementary courses are geared at students in grades four through six. The lessons are activities-based leading to lots of doing and time passes smoothly — and enjoyably. These classes meet once per week for 60 minutes over a period of six weeks. The BDC will also create a fun speaking event for them and give them medals like in the Olympics.
  • Middle school courses are geared at students in grades six through eight. No matter their experience in speech and debate, there is a course that will fit. Middle-school classes meet once per week for 90 minutes over a period of six weeks. At the completion of the course an event will be created for them and the BDC will give positive encouragement for the students to join a team and attend tournaments (if they are interested).
  • High school courses are geared at students in grades nine through 12. These classes will not occupy too much of a student’s time as the BDC strives to create a healthy balance to challenge students, but not overwhelm them. These classes meet once per week for 90 minutes over a period of six weeks. Students are encouraged to start a team, and go to speech and debate tournaments, which can be a lot of fun for them. Three experience levels are available: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Customized scheduling is also available. Students who have missed the deadline can be waitlisted so that additional classes can be created later in the month or possibly the following month. This creates a space for people to request classes that better align with their busy schedules.

The courses are currently offered at no cost. The BDC initiative greatly appreciates donations, which help the program to offer even more classes and special events throughout the year.

For questions or to enroll, please visit or call 859-218-8888.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.