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 on: December 12, 2018, 04:32:08 PM 
Started by coach_hanes - Last post by coach_hanes
Hi all,

I put together a full description of software for debate tabulation, including all the formulas I've developed over the years:

Best wishes,


 on: December 06, 2018, 10:51:42 AM 
Started by jregnier - Last post by jregnier

 on: December 04, 2018, 03:20:04 PM 
Started by RuthBeerman - Last post by RuthBeerman
CALL FOR 2019 JAPAN TOUR: The Committee for International Discussion and Debate (CIDD) of the National Communication Association (NCA) announces the call for applicants.

Every other year, the CIDD coordinates with the Japan Debate Association to send two debaters and a coach to Japan. Tour participants take part in a wide range of activities including debates, workshops, and lectures at Japanese universities, high schools, and community group events.

Approximate Dates of Travel: Early June to early July 2019
Eligibility: Any past or present forensic participant who is under 25 years old and is a full time undergraduate in good standing (juniors and seniors preferred), or who has received an undergraduate degree but is still no older than 25, is eligible. We encourage applications from students active in all forms of debate, including Lincoln-Douglas debate, team policy debate, and parliamentary debate. Students who apply should have (or plan to obtain) a valid current passport.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of their debating skills and their ability to teach debate basics in a variety of formats. Knowledge of political, social, and cultural conditions around the globe is a must. The student’s ability to represent the United States and American forensics (in all its forms) accurately, effectively, and professionally is a strong consideration. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to discuss their experience with different forms of debate and individual events in their letter of interest. The ability to educate students about the style and substance of debate in the United States is an important component of the tour. Personal diplomatic skills are a must.

Tryouts: Applicants will be notified of their status as finalists by mid-February. The application process will include a round of phone interviews and a second round of video tryouts in which applicants will showcase their debate skills.
How to Apply: If you are interested in trying out for the tour, send the following no later than February 1, 2019:

(1) A letter of interest;
(2) A copy of your college transcript (unofficial is acceptable);
(3) Two letters of recommendation that address your skills in debate, your professionalism, and diplomatic skills (It is preferable, though not required, that one letter should be from someone other than your debate/forensics coach and focus on aspects of professionalism, diplomacy, presentation skills, and/or knowledge of the political, social, and cultural traditions of the region.);
(4) A current resume;
(5) Contact information including phone and email address.

Materials received after February 1, 2019 will not be considered.

Send these materials in one compressed zip file to

Finally, if you have any questions about the application and selection process, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Ruth Beerman, CIDD Chair, at

 on: December 02, 2018, 11:03:53 AM 
Started by jregnier - Last post by jregnier

 on: November 30, 2018, 08:12:39 AM 
Started by jregnier - Last post by jregnier
I will be posting this year's computer ratings in the next day or so. Given recent conversations, I have posted an Opt Out form for those who do not wish to be listed in the ratings. Just follow the link and fill out the form.

 on: November 29, 2018, 10:55:05 AM 
Started by Dan Fitzmier - Last post by Dan Fitzmier
Greetings from the Northwestern Debate Society.  I’m writing to announce that we will host the 55th Owen L. Coon Memorial Debates from February 2nd through 4th, 2019.  We have agreed with the University of Texas to continue our practice of hosting our tournaments in alternating years; Texas will host in 2020 and Northwestern will resume hosting in 2021. 

We will post an extensive tournament guide as we nail down our final plans in January, but for now we wanted to share the basic information you need to plan your travel schedule.  Given the possibility of inclement weather, we will issue a snow-schedule in the final itinerary that will build in additional time for each debate if necessary.

Topic, Tabulation, and Team Numbers

We will debate the 2018-19 NDT-CEDA debate topic.  We will use our traditional format of eight preliminary debates followed by elimination debates breaking to the double-octafinals.  We will employ side equalization and will break brackets as per tradition.  Gary Larson has again agreed to tabulate the tournament.   Northwestern is a member institution of the NDT, ADA, and CEDA; we will administer the tournament accordingly.

At this time, we hope to be able to accommodate all entries.  We may well have enough debating space on campus to do so.  However, in the interest of prudence we will set the entry cap at 120 teams.  Once we hit the cap your teams will be automatically added to the waitlist.  By then we will have more accurate information about how many rooms will be available on campus and will begin the process of raising the cap and working with large parties to ensure folks can bring as many teams as possible.

Transportation to Chicago and On Campus

If you fly to Chicago, it is entirely possible to attend the tournament without having to rent additional ground transportation.  Hired cars, ride services, and public transportation can get you to Evanston with ease from both O’Hare and Midway.  Once you are in the hotel - which is immediately adjacent to campus - Northwestern Debate will provide bus and shuttle service between the hotel and the debates on campus as needed. 

Further announcements regarding our accessibility program and contact information for participants with disabilities will follow in the official invitation and on this forum topic.  For now, suffice it to say that we are determined to make an extraordinary effort to assist all tournament participants with transportation and unique accommodations during the event, all the more so if we have challenging weather conditions.

Hotel and Tournament Pricing

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Hotel Orrington.  The tournament rate will be $109 per night for singles and doubles.  The Orrington will provide free high speed internet for all tournament participants.  The Holiday Inn and the Hilton Garden Inn are both perfectly reasonable alternatives to the Orrington if you so choose.  Either one of those options are located in Evanston, close to campus, and easily accessible.   We will include information regarding tournament fees in the official tournament invitation and we will provide an online payment option for those of you who would like to pay online. 

Tournament Provided Food

We traditionally provide breakfast and lunch on Saturday, all three meals on Sunday, and Breakfast and Lunch for the remaining tournament participants during the elimination debates on Monday.  We will provide the final details regarding tournament provided food in the invitation.

We are looking forward to see you in February!  I know I speak for the entire Debate Society and its alums when I say that hosting this event is something we always look forward to; we are delighted that you will be joining us in Evanston again for a weekend of excellent debating.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. 


Daniel J. Fitzmier on behalf of the Northwestern Debate Society

 on: November 28, 2018, 01:29:59 PM 
Started by mlsandoz - Last post by mlsandoz
Nashville Urban Debate League
Director of Programming - Job Description
Organization Overview

The Nashville Urban Debate League currently serves approximately 100 high school students and coaches in approximately nine Nashville public schools by providing extra-curricular policy debate programming and debate-related opportunities. The league empowers student debaters by developing skills that enable success beyond the classroom and after high school. With support from the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL) and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), the league, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, has been serving Nashville public school students since 2010.

Position Overview

The league seeks to hire an energetic, dedicated, part-time program director, with the possibility of a full-time position. The program director will report to league’s Board of Directors. The program director will manage the league’s programs and play a key role in building and maintaining support for the league among principals, teachers, students, and district leaders. Primary responsibilities include:
•   Recruit new partner schools and promote program growth at existing partner schools.
•   Foster relationships with partner schools by meeting and communicating regularly with principals and teacher-coaches.
•   Recruit, train and support teacher-coaches and community assistant coaches, including ongoing support for students and teachers by visiting local school sites and participating in after-school debate practices; curating and creating program resources and curriculum materials for coaches; and coordinating with MNPS to ensure that teacher-coachers receive annual stipends.
•   Recruit, train and coordinate volunteers to act as mentors in partner schools and/or judges at debate tournaments.
•   Plan and execute monthly league debate tournaments, periodic student workshops, and summer debate camps. Handle all aspects of budget management, daily league administration, and financial reporting compliance.
•   Collect and manage league data with support from NAUDL, including regular analysis and utilization of data to create and improve league programs.
•   Manage all communications and marketing on behalf of the league, including regular social media engagement.
•   Support fundraising efforts of the board, including attending meetings with potential funders and assisting with grant applications.
•   Help plan public debate programming associated with fundraising and outreach, including the development and maintenance of relationships and partnerships with potential donors, supporters, the debate community, and the local community.
•   Build, promote and support parent and community engagement.


●   B.A. degree or higher preferred, but not required
●   Two years policy debate experience – as a coach or competitor –  preferred.
●   Experience teaching high school and/or working in an urban education environment is preferred.
●   Ability to engage, interact effectively with and earn the respect of all constituencies in the league community, including district and school leaders. 
●   Ability to work with students and teachers effectively.
●   Ability to think strategically and develop solutions to practical challenges.
●   Strong work ethic and ability to follow through with integrity, competence and the highest ethical standards.
●   Superior problem-solving skills.
●   Collaborative working style and entrepreneurial spirit.

Compensation and Work Conditions
•   Part-time (25-30) hours per week.  Position demands are higher during school year and around tournaments, and allows for flexibility and the applicant to obtain another complementary position/pursuit.
•   Possibility of a fellowship with a local university/organization (being explored) and/or conversion to full time position dependent on performance and fundraising.
•   Pay of $20/hour. 
•   The Nashville Debate League does not provide insurance or other benefits.
•   Must have dependable transportation and ability to transport equipment and supplies for tournaments. Position requires capability to set up tournament equipment and supplies. Local travel required. Some out-of-town travel may be required.
•   The Nashville Debate League is an equal opportunity employer.
•   Ideal start date: By January 1, 2019.

To Apply
Submit your resume and cover letter to

 on: November 22, 2018, 06:33:50 AM 
Started by jarman - Last post by jarman
Preliminary Call for the 2019 Alta Argumentation Conference
August 1-4, 2019
Snowbird Lodge
Dale Hample, Director (

   This is a preliminary call, primarily because we have not yet established our procedure for submitting papers.  A final call will be publicized once we have done that.  Our keynote speaker will be Ron Greene.  We will have a special session to commemorate Mal Sillars, one of the conference founders and a big Alta presence for decades, who has recently passed away.  If you have stories or remarks to share about Mal, please contact me.

Theme: Local Theories of Argument?

   Though we know better when we stop to think about it, most of us casually think of ourselves as having inherited coherent traditions of rhetorical and argumentation theory.  The combination of an Aristotelian idea with a remark by Kenneth Burke is received without blinking.  The theme of this year’s conference is the possibility of local theories of argument, work that calls into question the historical and global coherence of the theories we work with.  The idea is that it may be necessary to generate local theories – local to a particular time, or place, or group identity.  That the content of rhetorical practice differed along those dimensions is obvious.  The question we will confront is whether the ordinary understandings or formal theories of argument were different as well. 

   The simplest way to exemplify the potential issues is to consider vertical and horizontal coherence/incoherence.  The vertical dimension is historical: should we consider that we have had different theories over time, given similar geographic and linguistic circumstance?  The horizontal dimension moves across cultures or groups in approximately the same time period.  For instance, does it make sense to approximate Japanese rhetorical thought as a Western system?  A scholarly showing that we have coherence over vertical or horizontal variance will be welcome, as will an argument suggesting that we need to acknowledge or develop local theories in respect of different histories or cultures.

   Some vertical distinctions are well known. For example, Cicero gave considerable attention to the order of the parts in a speech, along with specific directions as to desirable argumentative content in each part.  But when sermon models and instructions were written in the Middle Ages, quite a different pattern was specified.  What happened to Cicero’s organizational teachings, which were well known in Europe at that time?  Closer to our own era, Richard Weaver contrasted the conciseness and simple expressiveness of then-current rhetorical practice with the expansiveness and “spaciousness” of American rhetoric from earlier times.  He considered that one rhetoric could depend on an homogenized system of values and knowledge but the other could not, and that this generated different valuings of embellishment and reasoned celebration of the uncontroversial.

   Examples of horizontal distinctions seem somewhat less common in our scholarly community, but we have several of those as well.  Interest in Asian public talk has been both assimilated to and distinguished from modern Western rhetoric in book-length treatments by Robert T. Oliver and Xing Lu, as well as work by other scholars.  Does Chinese argumentation theory differ from Western thought in kind or degree?  Is it perceptive or presumptuous to call what the ancient Pharaohs did “rhetoric?” When we compare contemporary American and Lebanese orientations to interpersonal arguing, are we sure we are looking at the same phenomenon in both nations? 

   Horizontal distinctions might also be available when examining different identity groups within the same time and nation.  Bowers and Ochs long ago distinguished between the rhetorics of agitation and control. Are the same base understandings of public argument used by opponents of different standings, or are they implicitly working from different rhetorical theories?  Were Protestant and Catholic pamphlets in the early Reformation simply using different premises or did they have contrasting understandings of what would count as legitimate argumentation?

   Another sort of horizontal analysis might focus on argument channels.  Some scholars have already debated whether the explicit linear models appropriate to propositional verbal arguments are also suitable to what appear to be visual or narrative arguments.  Should we apply the same argumentation theories to elaborate edutainment stories and to abrupt tweets?  Should we have been theorizing mass/social media messages from unknowable sources in the same way we theorize the remarks of an easily identifiable public speaker or conversational partner?  If we need channel-local theories of argument, how can we understand which features of a medium require such treatment? 

   If analysis supports our casual assumption of a coherent intellectual inheritance, that will be comforting.  But if reflection and study suggest that we have more traditions than we commonly recognize, how can that be handled by our community?  Can local theories of, say, Korean argumentation be generated by native Dutch, American, or Canadian scholars?  If not, how can we recruit local scholars, with their intuitive appreciation of their own culture and history, to the intellectual projects that we value?  Do we in fact need local theories, constructed by local scholars?  Are we sure that they need them?

   Contributors will probably find it most natural to apply historical and rhetorical methods to the vertical questions, but social scientific methods easily suggest themselves for contemporary horizontal questions.  In any event, all of our methodologies are welcome in service to analysis of any of these issues.  Nor should anyone feel constrained by this simple vertical/horizontal metaphor.

   Naturally, some preference will be given to submissions that address the general theme.  However, quality work using any methodology, on any aspect of argumentation, will be welcome, as it always has been.

   Finally, here are two cautions for submitters: (1) Rhetorical theory is broader than argumentation theory.  Please remember that our community's special focus is argumentation.  (2) It will be natural for many Alta veterans to extract apparent theory from observed practice.  This is a reasonable methodology.  However, remember to emphasize the theory component in your paper.


   500 word abstracts for proposed papers will be due February 28, 2019.  These abstracts will be evaluated by peer reviewers.  For accepted proposals, full papers will be due on July 10, 2019, and these papers will again be peer reviewed, but for publication.  In the early years of the Alta conference, virtually all presented papers were published in the proceedings, but this is no longer the case.  For the last several conferences, we have published a volume of selected papers instead of proceedings. 

For panel proposals, the panel and each paper should have 500 word abstracts, although the papers might reasonably have shorter abstracts if the panel description contains basic content.

   Abstracts can be difficult to write.  Sometimes smart people with good ideas still write weak abstracts.  I have experience with evaluating abstracts for several argumentation conferences and I have noticed some common failings.  First, some abstracts do not explicitly (or plausibly) say what the paper has to do with the conference’s content aims.  Second, many abstracts promise attention to some theme or analysis of some artifact, but do not say how that will be accomplished or whether the work has started.  Third, some abstracts do not mention any key literature, leaving reviewers to wonder if the author is well-read and up to date.  Fourth, even if the author has in fact figured out generally what his/her conclusions will be, these are not mentioned or their evidence is left out.  Fifth, sometimes the abstract contains simple errors of composition, leaving a poor impression about the author’s ability to carry out the project.

   Eventual papers should be 3200 words at most.  They should be in a file format conveniently readable and editable in Microsoft Word.  The American Psychological Association’s style manual should be used by everyone.  Some of you may not realize that when Google Scholar gives an “APA citation,” it is never correct.  For relatively unusual sources (e.g., blogs, films, photos, or songs) you may have to search a bit to find out how these are to be cited in APA. 

   Financial assistance is available on a competitive basis for papers solely written by graduate students.  Please indicate to me if you qualify for consideration.  We have sometimes been able to provide some support for international scholars as well.

   Alta has always been a very open-minded intellectual community, welcoming to many theoretical and methodological approaches.  We very much hope you will join us.

 on: November 21, 2018, 04:28:07 PM 
Started by jbruschke - Last post by jbruschke
In 1968, Olympic medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos bowed their hands and raised their fists in the air.  The photograph of that event is one of the most iconic of the 1960s civil rights era.  The LA Times has said: "The photograph of their protest on the medals stand at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City ranks among the most unforgettable images in the history of sport."  There is a statue of that moment in the Smithsonian.  Tommie Smith was a California State University graduate and went on to earn a doctorate; he will be joining us at the awards assembly to distribute trophies and share some thoughts about the civil rights movement of his time, and any thoughts he has about civil rights and race relations today.  His stance has always been progressive and community building.  He was at ground zero of a watershed moment, and our hope is that his insight will give us all something to reflect on.

If you are unfamiliar with the times or the significance of Dr. Smith, here's more information:

 on: November 21, 2018, 04:27:30 PM 
Started by jbruschke - Last post by jbruschke
In 1968, Olympic medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos bowed their hands and raised their fists in the air.  The photograph of that event is one of the most iconic of the 1960s civil rights era.  The LA Times has said: "The photograph of their protest on the medals stand at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City ranks among the most unforgettable images in the history of sport."  There is a statue of that moment in the Smithsonian.  Tommie Smith was a California State University graduate and went on to earn a doctorate; he will be joining us at the awards assembly to distribute trophies and share some thoughts about the civil rights movement of his time, and any thoughts he has about civil rights and race relations today.  His stance has always been progressive and community building.  He was at ground zero of a watershed moment, and our hope is that his insight will give us all something to reflect on.

If you are unfamiliar with the times or the significance of Dr. Smith, here's more information:

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