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Rowland Call for contributions


On behalf of the Tenure and Promotion Working Group that is preparing
materials for the upcoming Third Developmental Conference on Debate to
be hosted by Wake Forest next June, I am writing to solicit information
and input related to the professional status of the debate coach at your
university. Other members of the working group include Jarrod Atchison
of Trinity University, Matt Gerber of Baylor, Kelly McDonald of Arizona
State, and Jeff Jarman of Wichita State. For those of you who don't
know me, I was the Director of Forensics at Baylor for five years in the
1980s and then for three more at KU and am currently a member of the
Board of Trustees of the NDT. Our working group has the assignment of
looking at the professional status of debate coaches and exploring
whether a successor document to the Quail Roost Statement on the web
site of the AFA might be created that could be used by debate coaches in
various types of positions to explain to the administration of their
particular school the appropriate professional standards for evaluating
their work. One problem that coaches face again and again is that
university administrations don't understand the demands of competitive
debate and traditional standards for tenure and promotion are often
inappropriate. This has caused many universities, including my own, to
move to some kind of appointment for the debate coach other than that of
a tenure-track faculty member.

As a first step in carrying out our assignment, we want to gather
information about the nature of your appointment and the standards by
which it is evaluated. Of course, this information will be kept
confidential and we will report only data within categories. Jarrod
Atchison has graciously agreed to analyze this data. We hope you will
take a moment and email him information about your appointment and the
way it is evaluated. His email is Please copy
me on that message as well. My email is We also would
value any insights that you might have on the document that the working
group eventually will draft. It is our hope that we can describe
appropriate evaluative standards for a number of different types of
appointments for debate coaches. As someone who has both been an active
coach and a department chair for a decade, I know that the demands on
coaches are enormous and very different from those of other faculty
members. We want to create a document that will provide context for the
role of coach and specify standards for evaluation that both reflect the
pedagogical goals of debate and fairly account for the enormous workload
required by contemporary debate.

Debate has been the most important influence in my academic life. And
my debate coach, Dr. Donn Parson, has been (and remains) an enormously
influential mentor. For the future health of the activity, it is
important that we identify reasonable standards for evaluating the
professional accomplishment of debate coaches. We very much would value
your participation in that effort.


Robert C. Rowland
Professor and Chair
Communication Studies
102 Bailey Hall, 1440 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045-7574
Phone: 785-864-3633 Fax: 785-864-5203