Public speaking is about civic engagement: changing the status quo where it needs changing.
The Barnard Speaking Fellows view public speaking as a right, a responsibility, and an intellectual exercise. It’s a way of discovering and testing ideas, and challenging one another to think critically and reflectively about what we say and how we say it. Whether in academia, philanthropy, politics, the arts, or any other speaking platform, people look to each other to be informed, persuaded, moved, and roused to act by the spoken word.
Speaking Fellows play a vital role in cultivating Barnard’s “speaking culture” – the way students use speaking as a tool for rigorous intellectual inquiry. The Speaking Program helps students find, shape and use their intellectual voices (what we call their speaking ethos) by promoting intellectual friction: academic disagreement through respectful debate and thoughtful argumentation. By experimenting with language and structure, students actively engage in their own thinking processes, getting to the bottom of what they want to say and how they want to express those ideas to others.