[eDebate] 2007-2008 CEDA Topic
Wed Oct 18 16:13:24 CDT 2006
I am sure that the prospect of next year's topic couldn't seem any more
distant but the process mandated by the CEDA constitution and developed
by the CEDA topic selection committee is already underway.
Last year I think everyone involved in the process saw how much
community input is possible. The hit count on the topic blog went crazy
during the meetings last summer. Lots of folks took part watching the
great feed provided by KCKCC. I am optimistic that we can have that
level of support during the year and the also as the final details are
resolved. This year I am working to extend our web presence in an effort
to organize that input and make it better integrated within the topic
process. There are a couple of items I would like to highlight.
1) Topic process - I have tried to summarize all relevant dates and
procedures for the topic process. This information is available at
http://www.cedatopic.com/topic_process.html I encourage everyone to
review it to learn about how we go about this processs. Significantly,
the section highlights that the first due date for papers in March 1, 2007.
2) Areas v. Controversy Papers - The topic process link includes the one
major significant change I am instituting with regard to topic papers.
In the past we asked for 'area' papers and then wording papers. This
policy was necessary due to the paucity of complete topic papers in the
past. At this point, with the tremendous amount of community
participation, it is time to clarify how the 'area' papers can best
contribute. Accordingly, I am asking that these papers be developed as
'controversy' papers that instead of highghting all of the relevant
concerns about a law or country or type of policy speak instead to a
relevant dispute in public policy. I have developed some guidelines to
help develop these controversy papers at
3) 07-08 Controversy Papers - We are actively soliciting papers for
consideration as a future topic. At last summer's CEDA business meetings
we commissioned a slate of papers to be developed committee members and
volunteers. Because there are no constraints on what type of topic
(i.e., legal, domestic, foreign policy, etc.) to consider for next year
there are a wide range of possible options. To date we have nine areas
already under consideration and I have heard from a potential set of
volunteers to add a 10th (roughly dealing with nonproliferation
policy). The full list of items is available at
These should not be treated as a closed or completed set in any way. In
each of these cases the authors may or may not even reccomend their
inclusion on the potential slate of areas. For example, one of my
responsibilities was to consider if executive authority would be useful
in next year's topic. Based on the inclusion of Quirin in this topic I
will be recommending that we not include executive authority next year.
At the same time, we are always looking for new work and new ideas. Keep
in mind that the slate of items included on the first ballot will be
drawn from this list so if you don't see items you like start
considering what might be a valuable alternative. Please consider this
one, of many, reminders about what items are under consideration for 07-08.
4) Input without writing a paper - There are two ways to go about giving
input even without authoring a paper. First, for each of the papers
being written there is at least one contact listed. These authors
welcome your assistance and input. If you have ideas on how a certain
area could be developed, let them know. I know I have found that this
process is much easier with additional input. Second, the topicblog has
an open thread for the next topic at http://blog.cedatopic.com/ Post
your thoughts there and we can incorporate that feedback into the process.
Two weeks before CEDA nationals I will present a slate of items to the
CEDA membership. Typically this is when we hear a great deal of feedback
about the topic. It usually includes a lot of discussion about other
areas and other ideas. I hope the new site and the clearer process can
help us move forward together. Please take a few moments in the next few
months and help us develop a topic that will provide a great educational
As always, if you have questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact me.
Chair, CEDA Topic Selection Committee
Gordon Stables, Ph.D.
Director of Debate
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Southern California
Office: 213 740 2759 Fax: 213 740 3913
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