[eDebate] Reconnecting debate to the academy-the case of UMKC

Joe Patrice joepatrice
Mon Apr 17 17:28:43 CDT 2006

This is more troubling news, coming right on the heels of the Oregon
situation coming to light.  There are many different reasons why
programs die and it is presumptous to claim that one thing or the
other is THE reason why programs die.  There are many reasons and we
need to understand each specific situation as it arises.

I haven't had time to digest everything Malcolm raises in his post,
but I think what we're learning right now is that it is imperative
that, if a program is in trouble, the community needs to know about
it.  We may not be able to save every program, but we stand a better
shot of saving programs when we know they are in trouble.  I had no
idea UMKC was facing cancellation after next year.  Now we know, and
this community is full of people willing to help in any way they can
and we have a year to work with.

While I haven't posted much of this yet (though I've talked with some
of you via backchannel), over the course of last week I have learned
the a lot about the ins and outs of the Oregon situation, reached out
to Dr. Frank to appeal to his personal preference for policy debate
and to see what we can do as a community to help keep the program
running.  I've also talked to numerous Oregon alums and they have also
reached out to Dr. Frank and are coming together to set up a modest
endowment to help keep the policy program running.

This is what I propose CEDA do over the coming years.  While
individual programs still make the decisions that are best for them,
CEDA should reach out to programs to help them when they struggle. 
Not to be flippant, but this is not unlike a sports league -- Seattle
may not want their franchise but that's not a reason for David Stern
to just wait and see how negotiations between the franchise and the
city turn out, instead he reaches out to the city because the league
has a vested interest in maintaining the strength of its franchises.

So, while ideally none of our membership would be struggling, we need
to be grateful that  these problems are coming to our attention rather
than festering silently.


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