[eDebate] Additional Program Development Thought

NEIL BERCH berchnorto
Fri Apr 21 14:50:51 CDT 2006

One thing I find myself doing more often (and it sounds to me a lot like 
what Ede is talking about) is referencing University strategic planning 
goals whenever I either make a funding request or report on our activities.  
Things like public debates (in our case in rural areas) and scholarly 
collaboration with debaters resulting in conference papers and articles (a 
goal of ours for the coming year) resonate with administrators.  I really do 
think that's the direction we're going (funding is more targeted than it 
used to be), and directors (especially at public universities) need to 
adjust to this reality.
--Neil Berch
West Virginia University

>From: "Josh Hoe" <jbhdb8 at gmail.com>
>To: "Ede Warner" <ewarner at louisville.edu>
>CC: Jacob Weigler <j_weigler at hotmail.com>, edebate at ndtceda.com
>Subject: Re: [eDebate] Additional Program Development Thought
>Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 15:41:33 -0400
>Dr. Warner is right about the problems of creating 
>at State schools, especially in a decade where cuts to state budgets have
>really cut higher ed funds, are turning more an more to a model requiring
>you to raise your own funds. I know that trying to continually find revenue
>streams through bad economic years in Michigan is truly challenging.  
>like Ede is trying some interesting new ideas at Louisville.
>I used to feel upset that I had to raise money and couldnt just "coach
>debate" but I fear that is going to become more and more of an essential
>debate coaching survival skill.
>Anyway, I agree that the court decisions around Title 9 have much to do why
>non-revenue generating sports remain on most college campsuses.
>On 4/21/06, Ede Warner <ewarner at louisville.edu> wrote:
> >
> > The repeated argument I've heard is that men's basketball and football
> > are the cash cows and create resources from which the others are funded.
> > Since Title IX, the argument has been you must create an equal amount
> > of women's opportunities.  So generally schools reduce their total
> > number of men's sports if they don't generate a lot of revenue in the
> > "main two".  If they do, like Louisville, they maintain all of the
> > non-revenue generating male sports and simply offer more women's sports.
> > Their ability to protect still comes from the generation of revenue.
> >
> > The ability of speech and debate activities to exist outside of
> > departments and not be funded like smaller student run clubs will come
> > down to the ability to generate revenue for most schools (run like a
> > business).  I don' t know how to do that outside of what is sucessfully
> > done at Michigan and other places:  institutes, handbooks, etc.
> >
> > We are going in the other direction.  One of the things we are doing is
> > trying to institutionalize debate as curricular instead of
> > extra-curricular.  Create another classes to offer forensics as part of
> > a minor, or a certificate, or a degree program, then speech and debate
> > can compete for academic resources.  In particular, our school is
> > pushing online distance education.  Students pay 30% above normal
> > tuition to take these courses and departments are given a
> > stipend/refund/kickback for each student that takes the course.  The
> > debate team is teaching 3 of these courses a semester, and is moving
> > towards creation of our own program, "Urban Communication" of which
> > debate will be a centerpiece.
> >
> > Debate will have to find ways to generate revenue to survive, whether
> > it's accessing tuition dollars or external funding.  Jake's framing
> > below was, is, and will be ineffective if the financial piece is not
> > also addressed.  I think this analogy fails without the comparable
> > revenue piece of the major sports.  But perhaps I'm wrong.
> >
> > Jake:  "I throw this out there cause it does seem like there would be
> > benefits to framing the value of debate in the athletics context:
> > recruitment of exceptional students, development of an excellent alumni
> > base, broad and focused publicity for the school. And frankly, unlike
> > Parli or speech, success in policy debate requires a time commitment
> > similar to that of a collegiate athlete."
> >
> > Ede:  What if debate alumni created a "National Debate Endowment" for
> > example?  And there were certain conditions attached to how
> > participating schools would benefit from it?  One thing that
> > administrators LOVE is matching. "If we can get something from an
> > external source, we'll throw in the other half."  When administrators
> > feel their resources are stretched by new money into an institution,
> > they seem to respond well.  Instead of only making arguments asking for
> > resources, debate needs to generate something if administrators are
> > going to take seriously requests for additional funding.  Debate needs
> > to think about itself as a business if that is the model education is
> > going to.  Just my thoughts, based on my experiences.
> >
> > >>> "Jacob Weigler" <j_weigler at hotmail.com> 4/21/2006 1:08:11 PM >>>
> >
> >
> > I've been reading the back and forth with some interest and decided
> > that it was worth throwing one additional point into the mix.
> > As has been discussed, it is becoming increasingly difficult to
> > convince school administrators to spend thousands of dollars per student
> > to support the activity. I won't rehash the debate about causes, but
> > what has interested me is that universities have no trouble ponying up
> > such sums for athletics - indeed it is pretty much assumed that these
> > activities will require such funding with equipment requirements,
> > facilities, travel, coaching staff and such.
> > There are other obvious parallels such as the recruitment of top-tier
> > high school debaters to the top-tier college programs, scholarship
> > disparities, and a coaching staff allowed to devote a
> > primary/substantial focus to debate that also suggest many things in
> > common with the perennial debate powerhouses and college athletics.
> > The relevance of this, to me, is the ability of college athletics to
> > retain all of these resource commitments when schools as a whole are
> > streamlining and becoming more focused on a business model for
> > education. Obvious answers like "Football, Basketball, etc. make money
> > for schools," don't explain the continued support of dozens of other
> > sports like volleyball, tennis, water polo, etc. that are much more
> > equivalent to debate in terms of creating visibility for schools and
> > drawing down alumni support. The answer, I would suspect is the
> > economies of scale that allow for an athletics department with the
> > administrative clout to protect budgets, create a vehicle pool, recruit
> > staff and incoming students, etc.  I tried to create a similar
> > architecture when I started the nyu program (reaching out to parli, mock
> > trial, ballroom dance, quiz bowl and other activities that traveled like
> > we do) with mixed results largely due to the student-led nature of most
> > of them, but it is something that perhaps others have/could explore.
> > I throw this out there cause it does seem like there would be benefits
> > to framing the value of debate in the athletics context: recruitment of
> > exceptional students, development of an excellent alumni base, broad and
> > focused publicity for the school. And frankly, unlike Parli or speech,
> > success in policy debate requires a time commitment similar to that of a
> > collegiate athlete.
> > The larger question, of shifting debate out of departments to a more
> > explicit "activity/competition" focus, is a more difficult one. It seems
> > to me to be the flip side of the discussion that has been happening
> > about the disconnect with the academy. Implicity it seems to already be
> > happening at several programs across the country. There are some obvious
> > downsides, the chief in my mind being that it puts coaches in a
> > difficult position. No one expects a basketball coach to get tenure or
> > write papers (though it seems like at an increasing number of schools
> > the same goes for the debate coach).
> > Regardless of whether such a dramatic shift is adviseable,  taking
> > proactive steps to forge, share and refine these alternate models is
> > something positive we can do rather than watching the pool of resources
> > at programs continue to decline as we mutter about needing to "just try
> > harder."
> > So, this is all fascinating Jake, but so what? Not sure I have all the
> > answers, but it does seem that the economies of scale advantage of
> > athletics is something we should take seriously. There have been
> > numerous efforts at the national level on the CEDA & NDT side to compare
> > notes and share strategies, but my suggestion would be to
> > institutionalize this - relying on the good will and extra effort of our
> > officers or committee members is simply asking too much over the long
> > term.
> > Hope this contributes to the conversation.
> > j.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
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> >

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