Meet Emily Leber
Emily Leber is excited to join Belmont Abbey College as the Director of Debate and lecturer in the Political Philosophy Department.
Emily graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with her M.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies, concentrating in International Peace Development. Her primary areas of research focused on dynamics in the Middle East and Europe, as well as the intersection of efficiency and client dignity in non-profit strategies.
Emily and her collegiate debate partner were ranked second in the country for National Parliamentary Debate in December 2013, placing at every tournament she attended that season. During this time, she also assisted in coaching younger team members, honoring Cedarville University as the second placed squad in the nation overall. After graduating, Emily spent time assistant coaching Appalachian State University’s first year team; some students were placed in the top 50 teams nationally by March. For the last year, Emily has been working alongside the Belmont Abbey College team, which won the International Public Debate Association National Tournament in the J.V. division this March.
Forensic Arts Society
The Belmont Abbey College Forensic Arts Society was started in the early days of the college by Abbot Leo Haid, offering students opportunities for debate and discussion and representing one of the premier programs on campus. Although dormant for the past four decades, it is awakening for a new generation of students at Belmont Abbey College.
This society, which houses the competitive debate squad, offers students the opportunity to develop and to test their abilities to reason well and communicate articulately. Members of the squad will travel to tournaments and compete against students from colleges and universities across the United States, which can include The University of Notre Dame, The University of Loyola-Chicago, the University of California-Berkeley, and The University of Kentucky, to name a few of the more prominent universities among the hundreds that field debate programs. Unlike athletic teams, debate programs are not classified by the size of a college’s student enrollment or major interest. Consequently, students will debate individuals from various academic backgrounds and those representing research one institutions to those from smaller liberal arts colleges
While competing for the debate society requires a time commitment, the rewards are significant. Students will immediately see their writing, research, and public speaking improve. They will learn to see the heart of an issue, to derive the principle, and apply that the ever growing supply of knowledge from every discipline. By extension, the cultivation of this habit prepares students to be good fathers, mothers, stewards, and citizens with the ability to intellectually defend those principles in a civilized and humane fashion.
Finally, and in a practical sense, participation in debate further prepares students for excellence in law school, medical school, at a seminary, in graduate school, for employment and as citizens, parishioners, and parents. Debaters coached by Emily have attended prestigious graduate programs in medicine, economics, philosophy, theology, sociology, and law. Her debaters have gone on to achieve great professional success: to clerk for Supreme Court justices, to serve as respected attorneys, priests, pastors, professors, advisers for major medical centers, fundraisers for prominent organizations, to work as journalists writing for national publications and appearing on national television programs, and most importantly, to participate within their communities to improve the lives of others.
For more information about joining the society, please contact Emily Leber, Director of Debate, at EmilyLeber@bac.edu.
“Debating for Belmont Abbey College has been the hardest yet most rewarding activity I’ve taken part in this school year. It pushed my limits socially and academically. I think one of the most difficult challenges that people face in life is communicating your ideas effectively to others, as it impacts personal relationships, businesses endeavors, and success as a student. As Christians it’s also important to be able to defend what you believe in. Debating this semester is something that has helped me extremely in both of these areas. It has given me the ability to vocalize and communicate my ideas in a concise and understandable manner, in addition to developing the ability to successfully defend something that I believe is right.” -Logan Torve
“Debate has been crucial to forming my critical thinking skills, enabling me to employ my liberal arts education and enhancing my understanding of the world it a fun and engaging way.” -Mary Rose Stepnowski