Why are debate faculty writing cases????
Fri Oct 13 10:55:53 CDT 2000
My first post, and I must admit I have been holding
back on this topic.
I debated on the national circuit for William & Mary
84-87 when W&M was a top 10 program where I won my
share of tournaments and speaker awards. I have
helped judge/coach teams periodically since then and I
am now a PT DOF at a midwest college. My full-time
job is as a Senior Consultant for a professional
services firm working mainly for Fortune 500 companies
at the executive/CEO level.
I give my background in the hopes that it will add
some credibility as to my debate competency as well as
"real world" skills that a debate competency helps
foster. Yes, I do believe debate is designed to
foster real-world skills not professional academic
While this is a response to this grad students post,
it is meant to be more of an overall observation of
what seems to be now well accepted in our community.
Why are graduate students, coaches and professors
writing cases for undergrads? Why are they blocking
out negative responses? Why are they writing CPs, Ks
and DAs? One of the core competency debate teaches is
research and the logical structure of a policy or
value proposition as well as extemporaneous thought,
logic and reasoning. How is the undergrad helped by
the faculty providing this service? Helping through a
socratic method of discourse is one thing, but in
every tournament I have attended in the past few years
- the burden has shifted from the undergrad to the
At the recent Northern Illinois tournament, one of our
teams took some abuse from another coach because we
would not give them a copy of our teams affirmative
case 30 minutes prior to the round. Why? I have no
problem with a team having a case beforehand and using
the skills they are developing to critique the case.
What I do have a problem with is giving the case to
the coach, grad student or other faculty member to
provide this service for their team.
I equate this difficulty in competitive debate with
the "professionalizing" of college sports. Have some
members of the forensics education community replaced
winning with teaching?
When I spoke with a long-time, now retired DOF, on the
topic of why he had given up competitive debate some
years before his retirment - his reponse was that in
his opinion CEDA/NDT competitive debate no longer
prepared debaters with the core competency skills of
research, logic and reasoning, so he exited the
activity. He did not do this due to some of the other
issues that periodically surface such as speed,
mini-max reasoning or the absence of the tabula rosa
judging paradigm. He exited because in his opinion
the community as a whole had shifted to
coach/grad/faculty preparation of arguments to be
"read" by their undergraduate teams.
My debata alma mater, the College of William & Mary,
the oldest university in the U.S and birthplace of Phi
Beta Kappa no longer participates in CEDA/NDT for some
of these reasons. Sometime at the end of this school
year, I will be asked my opinion on whether my current
institution should continue to participate in
NDT/CEDA. It will depress me if I am forced to come
to the same conclusion.
What is the solution? First, the community must agree
on the problem of which I expect will not happen.
Second, is the problem psychological or structural
(oh, isn't inherency a wonderful thing). My opinion
is that the psychological will not change without
institutionalizing a solution. Most college
competitive sports have rules of engagement. CEDA/NDT
debate should consider devising rules on authorship,
blocking and overall teaching standards.
--- ZACHARYSAPIENZA at AOL.COM wrote:
> Baylor, Please help!
> I am the graduate coach at Southern Illinois
> University who is writing the
> internet access to Djibouti case for my novices. I
> was hoping you would help
> me with cites to the solvency authors. Any help
> would be much appreciated.
> thank you for your time.
> Zachary Sapienza
Scott A. Stawski
sstawski at yahoo.com
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