[eDebate] Towson Rocks: Institutionalizing Program Development Ideas
Ceda2vp at cs.com
Wed Apr 26 14:11:23 CDT 2006
I agree with Chief that the discussion of late about program retention and
expansion is heartening. I spoke with Andy about what folks were working on
down there during CEDA Nationals and was thoroughly impressed. It points to a
powerful lesson. One concerned debate alum had a vision for expanding debate
opportunities. He convinced some other folks and soon they had a plan to add a
bunch of schools. The Associated Leaders of Urban Debate (ALOUD) will do what
we can to support this work.
For some regions the Towson initiative would represent a doubling or tripling
of participation. Maybe they have inspired others to follow suit. If you
are motivated and just need to figure out who is in your area, a directory of
colleges by state is available many places including these websites:
Some of you won't even need that because you know 1 or 2 schools nearby.
Call someone ( a dean, a former colleague who's at the school, the head of
student activities, a HEOP coordinator, or the president's office). Maybe you'll
get lucky and they were just looking for a way in.
Not sure if I will be at the summer meeting but thought Jake's call to
institutionalize made sense. I've gone back through suggestions made over the past
three years in this forum and elsewhere and distilled six primary approaches
about how to build, maintain and expand programs:
a) connecting to university mission (referencing strategic plans &
departmental objectives, event positioning for tournaments, debate across the
curriculum, communicating successes, involving relevant campus departments in topic
selection or research opportunities, and alternatively avoiding running an
insular, disconnected program)
b) developing core support networks (building an alumni base, identifying
allies in administration & student government, encourage debaters to speak out on
campus and be involved in other activities, activate public relations
efforts, be self-aware about our status and understand why some programs have decided
to make changes)
c) reducing costs (lowering fee structures, hotel expenses, travel expenses,
alternative formats like the Towson initiative, regional assistance to new and
student-run programs, transparency about costs so directors can factor that
into scheduling choices)
d) "case" statements (defending the value of what we do, translating it into
language acceptable to the outside world, having portfolios of statements by
university presidents, take steps to insure director stability, provosts and
others indicating benefits of debate for their schools, empirical study of
accomplishments of alumni, supporting updating the Parcher study and conducting
other research to quantify the involvement of debate, information-sharing about
how others have built solid foundations and what types of statistics work)
e) formalizing outreach to feeder programs (high school and middle school
recruitment, increased presence at community colleges, involvement with urban
debate communities, support of National Public Policy Forum, judge training
workshops to increase enthusiasm and local pools)
f) utilizing natural media opportunities (sponsoring electoral debates for
local, state and federal contests, partnering with other organizations that are
tied to the current debate topic or an issue of interest, hosting or
performing public debates on controversial issues, researching, appear on TV shows and
identifying former debaters in your area, provide recognition for luminaries
that connect them to debate [like Debate/Speaker of the Year Awards to a person
of note], maintaining media contact lists).
Are there others?
If we could put together a Top Ten Strategy List and figure out which
programs are employing which strategies that might help frame the discussion at the
Summer Meeting on Program Development and potentially lead to usable outcomes.
The other issue is how to share that information afterwards. At ALOUD, we
created for our partners, an expertise locator
(http://www.debateleaders.org/locater.html) so that folks who were interested in learning how to start an urban
debate league, introduce debate into middle schools, be involved in prison
debates, fundraise, etc. would be able to contact local partners directly and
get their thoughts. Perhaps, the CEDA website could use a similar track for
programs thinking about starting, looking to expand or wanting to be ahead of the
curve in protecting their future.
Peace & Justice,
Associated Leaders of Urban Debate (ALOUD)
YOUR VOICE. YOUR FUTURE. DEBATE.
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