Aerial view of Presidents Circle at the University of Utah in the fall.

Academic programming during the vice presidential debate

The U’s vice presidential debate steering committee wants to know: How are U faculty and staff members incorporating the debate in their fall courses and program offerings? Opportunities could include anything from focusing multiple class sessions on the debate and election to covering it briefly as part of existing course topics. They could also include co-curricular opportunities for students, faculty and staff to engage in and experience this debate and events.

“We’ve heard from several professors, ranging from architecture to political science, about the creative ways they are integrating the debate into their syllabi,” said Morgan Lyon Cotti, subcommittee co-chair for Academic Programming and Volunteer Coordination. “We need your help to track and communicate all of the creative academic programming taking place around this once-in-a-lifetime campus event.”

Professors and staff members planning on incorporating the debate into their syllabi or programming can let the committee know by completing a short form found on debate2020.utah.edu. Course number and title are needed as well as estimated numbers of students to be enrolled.

Submitted courses will be compiled and promoted so interested students can register before the Fall semester begins. Public events can also be submitted to be included in promotional materials.

Volunteer opportunities will be announced in the coming months as restrictions are lifted surrounding COVID-19. Students, faculty and staff volunteers will be needed to support operations at multiple locations across campus in the weeks and days leading up to the debate.

“October will be here before we know it and the University of Utah will be ready to teach and engage our students on the importance of civic engagement and the election process,” said Lori McDonald, subcommittee co-chair for Academic Programming and Volunteer Coordination. “No matter what our new ‘normal’ looks like after COVID-19, our campus will meet the challenge.”

The debate is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, and is the one televised opportunity for the vice presidential candidates to debate one another on the issues. The Commission on Presidential Debates is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and has sponsored all general election presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988. Three televised debates are scheduled for the presidential nominees.

Media Contacts

Shawn Woodcommunications specialist, University of Utah Communications
Office: 801-585-9244 Mobile: 435-201-1729