Contact any of the people listed below for more information about the Bard Debate Union.
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Term Assistant Professor of Social Studies
Co-Director, Bard Debate Union
Dr. Ruth Zisman is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Term Assistant Professor of Social Studies, and the Co-Director of the Bard Debate Union. As Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Ruth works on projects related to the academic and programmatic development of Bard College and Bard’s national and international networks. Ruth is also a faculty member in the Philosophy and Human Rights programs, where she teaches courses in continental philosophy, political philosophy, and the German philosophical tradition. As Co-Director of the Bard Debate Union, Ruth oversees the team’s public debates and events, tournament hosting, outreach projects, travel calendar and logistics. Since founding the team in 2004, Ruth has worked not only to build a world-renowned debate program at Bard – expanding the program from an extra-curricular activity into a centerpiece of liberal arts education – but also to develop debate programs throughout the Hudson Valley of New York and throughout Bard’s national and international networks. Ruth has organized and taught at debate workshops and institutes in the United States, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Russia, held fellowships in Berlin and Weimar, and presented at academic conferences at Cornell, Yale, and the University of Zurich. Ruth earned her B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy from Vassar College (2004), her M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from NYU (2008), and her Ph. D. in German Studies from NYU (2015).
Faculty Fellow and Director of Debate, Bard Prison Initiative
Instructor, Bard Learning Commons
Co-Director, Bard Debate Union
David Register is a Faculty Fellow and the Director of Debate at the Bard Prison Initiative, an Instructor in the Bard Learning Commons, and the Co-Director of the Bard Debate Union. As Faculty Fellow and Director of Debate at BPI, David founded and coaches the now internationally recognized Bard Prison Initiative Debate Union. David is also a faculty member in the Bard Learning Commons where he teaches courses in Public Speaking and Argumentation. Finally, David is the Co-Director of the Bard Debate Union where he oversees the team’s skill and research development, coaching Bard debaters to the top levels of national and international competition. Before coming to Bard, David coached debate at the University of Vermont where he coached top teams in both policy and parliamentary debate formats. He has also taught at debate workshops and institutes in the United States, Germany, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Russia. David holds a B.S. in Communication Studies from Emporia College (2004) and a B.F.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Texas.
Nathaniel Carlsen ’18
Tutor Coordinator Intern, Bard Learning Commons
Assistant Coach, Bard Debate Union
Nathaniel graduated Bard in 2018 with a degree in History and Political Studies. While a student, he worked as a Peer Counselor, a Learning Commons Tutor, and a Golf Cart Driver. Nathaniel now works for the Bard Learning Commons as the Tutor Coordinator Intern. He debated throughout all four years of his time as an undergraduate, during which he was the champion and 9th place speaker at The University of Rochester Open Debate Championship, an octo-finalist at the United States Universities Debating Championship at Stanford University, and debated in the 2016 World Universities Debating Championship in the Hague, Netherlands. Nathaniel is also an avid bicyclist and apple pie baker.
Hadley is in their sophomore year at Bard, intending to major in Psychology and Musicology. Highlights of their debate career so far include being a Novice Finalist at the U.S. Universities Debate Championships in 2018 and being selected to attend the Bard College Network Debate Conference in Budapest, Hungary in 2019. On top of their involvement with the Bard Debate Union, they are a Research Assistant in the Memory Dynamics Lab on campus and a peer tutor in Writing and Music Theory through the Bard Learning Commons. In the spare moments in between their many commitments, they enjoy watching comedy, playing sudoku, and enjoying coffee.
Email: Elaina is a junior at Bard majoring in philosophy, particularly interested in the study of ordinary language. She works as Assistant House Manager at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and runs the Bard Poker Club. She has been debating for a year and a half with the Bard Debate Union, and in 2018 she served as a representative for the Bard College Network Debate Conference in St. Petersburg. Along with her partner Estrella Frankenfeld, Elaina has won several awards in her time debating, including Finalist at the Smolny Open Debate Tournament in 2018, Novice Finalist at UVM Huber Debates in 2017, and 2nd Novice Speaker at NAW*DC 2018.