[eDebate] Reconnecting debate- clarifying and Main Point

Robb Stepp rdwsteppiv
Tue Apr 18 00:47:54 CDT 2006


This is my first semester at this, and so I haven't had a whole lot of time to figure all this out; I am just starting to explore these ideas. I wanted to clarify my earlier post, and to bring out the link to "Reconnecting debate to the academy."
  First, from my prior post:
       1)  Virtual platforms: Why can't debate go electronic?
  a) I am researching the technologies available to create a virtual tournament.
  There certainly are real-time courses/lectures that are scheduled within the TN state system- between member institutions.  The time delays+ frames/sec. are pretty workable, even for debate.  I have some help ( and though I do have some good background here, I do not have enough yet here to do all the homework on interoperability+cost-comparisons on my own). Also, should this really be a feasable platform for debate, this platform could be used to foster cooperative arrangments among institutions to share lecture series, etc- I think an easy sell.
  b) Scheduling could be helped by making weekday nights available to debate.
  This is a problem for many teams and judges.  A virtual tourney could hold debates at any time that was arranged. Of course, the room(s) available with the virtual technology is a limiter, but perhaps the scheduling flexibility could make up for this.
   
       2)  Grant money: Why doesn't the community seek gov. funding?
  a)The Academies= Under the National Academies, there are two divisions:
  1)  The National Science Foundation: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research; 2) The National Science Foundation: Education and Human Resources. Neither of these groups are focused solely on research, in fact, both entities have public policy development through the application of science as a mandate.  Both do indeed support programs aimed at all levels of education to enhance the interdisciplinary nature of the policy applications of sciences. Also, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Department of Education have big grant programs.  Of course, there are also charitable foundations that could be approached.  Even if there are no avenues through grant programs that would specifically allow support of collegiate and high school debate (though I think there certainly are), there is no reason why avenues/grant programs couldn't be made, even if legislation were necessary. The point is, to my knowledge, there is no concerted effort on the national, nor
 regional, landscape by the debate orgs to fundraise through these means. 
   
  The Main Thrust
  From my prior post: I just don't think that there is a way to avoid having debate become focused outside the academic departments, unless one of two things happen.
  A)  Educational grant monies subsidize the faculty positions.  This is the only way most schools can have to develop the status and tenured positions for debate coaching as I see it.  Otherwise, debate will always be at the budgetary axe- it has no product that generates revenues.
  B)  Debate could produce a product- certification. Silly as it sounds, perhaps debate orgs could develop a way to credentialize public speaking and policy-development.
  I know that this is terribly far-fetched, but I think having a licensed interior-designer is a bit far-fetched too.  Could certification/credentialing of debate programs and debate performance offer value to industry? Could a variety of panels of judges offer a reasonably high-enough standard of evaluation of debaters to recommend their experiences to organizations that these would consider worthwhile? Maybe.  Just an idea.  
   
  I thank you for your time and, hopefully, I didn't waste it.
  I appreciate your having read my post.
  --RS

		
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