[eDebate] Pilot Project -- Judge Mentor Program @ Northwestern

William J Repko repkowil
Sun Jan 28 19:18:02 CST 2007

Have you ever been curious as to how judges decide ?... 

Have you wanted a "Behind the Music" glance at how D. Heidt reaches his 
verdicts ?... 

Ross Smith and I are coordinating a judge mentorship pilot project at this 
year's Coon tourney (Feb 10-12th). 

The purpose of this email is twofold: 

a) to try and find a few more interested young(er) judges that would like to 

b) to describe the pilot project to the community at-large.
What is this ?... 

This idea was cooked-up with Brad Hall and Casey Harrigan. They correctly 
pointed-out that no one really talks to us about how to judge. 

The Pilot Project is looking for 4-5 additional younger judges (beyond Brad 
and Casey) to participate in the following lesson plan: 

1. Spend 1-2 off-rounds watching a debate that is being judged by one of the 

2. Have one of the mentors sit-in on 1-2 of the debates you are judging. 

3. *After* decisions are made, chat with the mentor about the process of 
deciding, the sequence of the oral critique, the vexing issues, etc. 

4. After the tourney, drop a brief email to us describing the strengths and 
weaknesses of the lesson plan. The question we'll be trying to assess is 
whether this blueprint can (or should) be used on a larger scale at future 
Who is involved ?... 

The following people have agreed to be mentors, you would be asked to work 
with one of them: 

Greg Achten, Cal-Berkeley
David Heidt, Emory
Ed Lee, Emory
Brian McBride, USC
Sarah Partlow Lefevre, Idaho State
Will Repko, MSU
Ross Smith, Wake Forest
What this program is not ?... 

1. It will embody a hands-off approach before the decisions are reached. 
Ross Smith is not going to start conspiciously coughing as Harrigan assigns 
speaker points or reaches for certain cards. The "mentor" part would be 
after-the-decision -- as a way of making certain that the debaters "get" the 
judge they originally pref'd. 

2. This program has been coordinated with Deatheridge and Larson to minimize 
the strain on the tabroom. Parties cannot reduce their judge commitment b/c 
of their participation in the mentor program. They cannot request that they 
be "out" for rounds 7 or 8 (this will maximize pool flexibility). 

3. We are limiting this to only a few judges (the 7 mentors and 4-5 
additional students) for two obvious reasons: judge pool flex, and the 
*pilot* nature of this.
What is required to sign-up: 

1. backchannel me.
2. You need to be in the pool for Northwestern, and (preferably) not in for 
all 8 debates. This would mean that you'd already have rounds-off to watch a 
debate that the mentor is judging.
3. It's gotta be ok with your Director/team if you use some of your 
non-judging time to be part of this -- instead of cutting cards, scouting, 

The goal is pretty simple -- some younger judges requested a mechanism for 
professional development. This project is designed to try to honor that 
request and examine the feasibility of larger-scale efforts. 

A report will be sent to edebate after this project is complete. 

Complaints about this idea should be sent to Mike Eber -- eber at msu.edu 

This post is already long -- and I have not explained every little detail. 

Drop me a line if you have additional questions. 


  Will Repko
  MSU Debate
  repkowil at msu.edu 

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