What is the Debate Spot?

We all face problems, big and small, in our homes, schools, businesses, and communities. One of the biggest challenges is often finding solutions we can all agree on. The answer: constructive debate.

The Debate Spot offers the Constructive Debate Model (CDM), a communication tool developed by a team of professional debaters and educators. Our model outlines a collaborative process for identifying problems, developing complete and persuasive arguments, assessing alternative solutions, building consensus, and taking action. As a result, new ideas are nourished, critical thinking is developed, and we embrace collaborative change. At The Debate Spot, we believe constructive debate leads to better solutions and a better world.

Here you’ll find information about the CDM, insights from its creators on our blog and newsletter, products and services for applying constructive debate in your daily and professional lives, and opportunities to connect with The Debate Spot team.

By developing and sharing an accessible method of inquiry, empowering all individuals to find their voice, and encouraging collaborative change, The Debate Spot will start a revolution using constructive debate to solve today’s problems.
Constructive debate allows everyone—young and old—to develop their critical thinking skills.

Constructive debate teaches individuals an accessible way to make persuasive and complete arguments to express their viewpoints and find their voice.

Constructive debate is NOT about arguing to win your position. Instead, constructive debate asks that we listen to everyone’s ideas and encourage collaborative change.

Constructive debate will move our society away from rude, combative, one-sided confrontations, to a practice of constructive conversations and discussions.

Teach professionals, educators, and everyday people how to effectively define problems, rely on complete arguments, consider alternative solutions, and work together to build consensus and resolve conflict.

Meet The Team

Dr. Timothy D. West
Dr. Timothy D. WestDeveloper
Timothy D. West is the Grant Thornton Professor of Accountancy at Northern Illinois University. Tim obtained his B.S. in Accountancy from the University of Missouri—Columbia (Mizzou) in 1976 and worked in public accounting and industry before obtaining his MAS from Mizzou in 1989 and his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee—Knoxville in 1993. After almost 16 years in the business world, including positions at Touche Ross (now Deloitte) and as CFO for a manufacturing start-up, he entered the world of academics and has been a university professor for more than 20 years. He has won numerous teaching awards for making accounting at least interesting if not exciting. Most recently, he was recognized by the Illinois CPA Society as its Outstanding Accounting Educator for his innovative course design efforts.
Lisa L. Roth
Lisa L. Roth
Lisa L. Roth is the Director of Forensics and head coach of the competitive debate and individual debate teams in the Department of Communication at NIU. Lisa received her B.S. in Rhetorical Communication in 2010 and M.A. in Communication in 2012, both from NIU. She serves as the President of the Lincoln Parliamentary Debate League and has won the Dave Schiedecker Coaching Award, the Grace Walsh Forensics Coach Award, and The Woman Who Makes a Difference Award from the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women at NIU. Beyond her passion for competitive forensics, Lisa focuses on applying debate tools to real world situations. As a result, she began collaborating with NIU’s Department of Accountancy to introduce debate into the graduate program. Lisa is also published in ‘The Speaker’s Guidebook: Text and Reference’.
Yanelly Villegas
Yanelly Villegas
Yanelly received her B.A. in Political Science in 2013 and her M.A. in Communications in 2015, both from NIU. As a graduate student, she held a dual assistantship as both a classroom instructor and debate coach for the NIU Forensics team. During that time, she also collaborated with Professor West to design debate exercises for use in his graduate accounting classes. Her passion for debate began with the Chicago Debate League, one of the largest and most competitive urban debate leagues in the country. That passion grew as her experience with debate continued with NIU’s Forensics team and she recognized its power to develop creative problem-solving, quick decision-making, and critical thinking skills.

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