Reid-Brinkley's Arrival Rounds Out Argumentation and Debate Dream Team
Pittsburgh is a city of confluences. Its picturesque skyline unfolds around merging rivers, and now, four current and former Directors of Debate come together in the city's most storied university to form an argumentation and debate dream team.
This exciting development results from the University of Pittsburgh's appointment of Shanara Reid as its newest faculty member in the Department of Communication. Reid comes aboard as a tenure-stream Assistant Professor and Director of Debate, with responsibility for steering Pittsburgh's intercollegiate policy debate team and developing her groundbreaking scholarly research program. Joining Reid on the debate coaching staff is Associate Professor Gordon Mitchell, who will focus on public debate, debate outreach, publicity and development in his new role as Director of the William Pitt Debating Union.
Pittsburgh's current Department Chair, Barbara Warnick, was formerly Director of Debate at Tulane University, while Professor John Lyne headed up the University of Iowa's debate program before joining the Pittsburgh faculty in the mid-1990s. The Pittsburgh quartet of Reid, Mitchell, Lyne and Warnick marks a convergence of debate program leadership and scholarly expertise in argumentation unsurpassed in the academy. Details on the roster of Pittsburgh's argumentation and debate dream team follow below the fold.
Assistant Professor, Director of Debate (2007-present)
Reid-Brinkley's University of Georgia doctoral dissertation explores how debaters use innovative forms of argumentation, such as hip hop music, to challenge prevailing norms of argument practice and press for a more racially inclusive intercollegiate policy debate community. She holds an M.A. in Communication from the University of Alabama and a B.A. in Political Science from Emory University. As one of the first generation of students to participate in the U.S. Urban Debate League program, Reid-Brinkley starred for Therrell High School in Atlanta, GA. While debating for Emory as an undergraduate student, she qualified for the elimination rounds and won individual speaking awards at many major national tournaments, reaching the quarterfinals of the Cross Examination Debate Association's national championship. Her numerous debate honors include Baylor's Debater of the Year Award and the Southeastern Regional Debate Critic of the Year Award. Reid-Brinkley's research on the rhetorical, cultural and political dimensions of hip hop music has been presented at national conferences and selected competitively for inclusion in the "New Voices" panel sponsored by the Critical/Cultural Studies Division at the National Communication Association (NCA). She has been recognized as one of the field's top young scholars, being invited to attend the NCA Doctoral Honors Seminar. This remarkable level of research achievement is matched in classroom excellence; Reid-Brinkley received the S.P.A.R.K.S. Teaching Award and the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award while at the University of Georgia.
Associate Professor, Director of the William Pitt Debating Union (2007-present)
Director of Debate, University of Pittsburgh (1995-2006)
A Pittsburgh native, Mitchell first cut his debate chops at Quaker Valley High School in Edgeworth, PA. As a college debater at Northwestern University he earned three NDT first-round bids, won top speaker at the NDT, and reached the final round of 14 major national tournaments. In 11 years as Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh, Mitchell guided teams to elimination rounds at major national tournaments including the NDT, CEDA Nationals, Towson Novice Nationals, Northwestern Novice Nationals, Northwestern, Wake Forest, Kentucky, and others. He also convened over 100 public debates and designed curriculum for multiple debate outreach programs, including those administered by the U.S. Department of State. Mitchell's research program specializes in public address and argument, rhetoric of science, and critical pedagogy. His book on the public argumentation surrounding the U.S. missile defense program won the NCA Winans Wichelns Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Public Address. He edited the Proceedings of the First Diversity Recruitment and Retention in Debate Ideafest and has published numerous field-shaping articles on argumentation in The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Argumentation & Advocacy, Social Epistemology, Controversia, and The Rostrum. The University of Pittsburgh recognized Mitchell's work on public debate and debate outreach with the Bellet Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Director of Debate, University of Iowa (1985-1991)
As a debater for University High School in Bowling Green, KY and then Western Kentucky University, Lyne honed a command of argumentation that helped make his paper on the semiotic dimensions of argument a key contribution to the inaugural 1981 Alta Argumentation Conference. For the next quarter century, Lyne's scholarly leadership helped shape the field. Building on his experience as co-founder of the University of Iowa's Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry (POROI), Lyne published "Social Epistemology as a Rhetoric of Inquiry" in Argumentation and "Argument in the Human Sciences" in the influential anthology, Perspectives on Argumentation. His research excellence in argumentation was recognized with the American Forensic Association's 1985 Daniel Rohrer Award; a distinction paralleled in intercollegiate policy debate by his team's second place finish at the National Debate Tournament. Also at Iowa, Lyne breathed life into the argumentation as a liberal art by teaching "Theory and Practice of Argument," a large undergraduate course that met a general education requirement. Most recently, Lyne used the lens of argumentation to reframe rhetoric of science's research trajectory in "Science, Common Sense, and the Third Culture," an article published in Argumentation & Advocacy.
Professor and Chair (2005-present)
Director of Debate, Tulane University (1977-1980)
Warnick, former editor of the Quarterly Journal of Speech, is one of the field's leading argumentation theorists and co-author of the acclaimed textbook, Critical Thinking and Communication: The Use of Reason in Argument. In articles for Communication Quarterly and Argumentation & Advocacy, Warnick used the conceptual scaffolding of argument schemes to inform critique of presidential addresses and analysis of practical reasoning. Her resourceful deployment of argumentation analysis to elucidate wide-ranging phenomena is also evident in articles on cross-cultural discourse and artificial intelligence for the Amsterdam-based journal Argumentation. Warnick has reviewed Jonsen and Toulmin's Abuse of Casuistry for Philosophy and Rhetoric, and contributed a groundbreaking treatment of Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca's role in developing the theory of argumentation advanced in The New Rhetoric. Much of Warnick's most recent work focuses on rhetorical dynamics of online discourse. Her lead review essay for Argumentation & Advocacy entitled, "Analogues to Argument: New Media and Literacy in a Posthuman Era," explored how contemporary trends in online communication implicate the research agenda for argumentation studies. Following her stint leading Tulane's debate program, Warnick published an analysis of value debate propositions in The Journal of the American Forensics Association.