UK Professors Use Debates As Teaching Tools

Oct 5, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - All eyes were on President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney Wednesday night. One group paying particularly close attention: political science students at the University of Kentucky. 

Dr. Stephen Voss is Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies in UK’s political science department. He says students in his class are asked to watch debates and then compare notes. The students, he says, are often surprised by what they find.

"'I didn't think about how he said that sentence and how he put the emphasis on that word rather than the next one'... that's what gets them is when they realize what they didn't get on the first pass," Voss says.

Voss says he hopes that realization will spur students to ask new questions.

"Why is Romney wearing a red tie? Why is Barack Obama wearing a blue tie? These things aren't accidents. They fine tune the whole thing, and if you want to see how they're trying to affect you emotionally and trying to tap into your instincts, you need to be looking with eyes that are wide open, not just ears really," he says.

Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan will debate at Centre College October 11th. The next presidential debate is set for October 16th.

You can hear the complete interview with Dr. Voss here.