[eDebate] Exciting News

Scott Deatherage lsd041
Thu Jan 31 01:37:48 CST 2008

Greetings from the Hardy House, home of the Northwestern Debate 
Society.  Duck here.  I hope this note finds everyone in the edebate 
community well.  We have just completed hosting the Owen L. Coon 
"Junior" Memorial and are anxiously preparing for our upcoming trip 
to Austin.  I look forward to visiting with many of you in person at 
that venue.

It is with great excitement and, admittedly some trepidation, that I 
write to publicly to announce that I have accepted the position of 
Executive Director of the National Association for Urban Debate 
Leagues, the NAUDL.  I assume full time responsibilities in the 
Spring.  NAUDL has as its mission expanding debate opportunities for 
high school students in urban areas across the country.  Our goal is 
to create the infrastructure and support required to make the debate 
experience that has been so valuable to so many of us available to 
the many students nationwide who presently have no local access to 
competitive debate.

The NAUDL is currently affiliated with projects in 20 cities across 
the United States, including start-up programs in 8 cities where 
there was no debate whatsoever just one year ago.  The Board of 
Directors -- Chaired by former NDT Champion and "Debater of the 
Decade" Lenny Gail -- plans a continued expansion strategy that aims 
ultimately to reach 50 major urban centers nationwide.  In the short 
run, we will bring debate to thousands of students; over the long 
term, the number could multiply many times over.

While I eagerly await this exciting new opportunity, the very 
difficult reality for me is that it will require me to give up my 
long time and cherished position as Director of the Northwestern 
University Debate Society.  Suffice it to say, this has been the most 
difficult decision of my professional life, and in some ways my 
personal life.  I came to Northwestern in the fall in 1986 and was 
appointed Director in the fall of 1990.  That's 18 years in the 
Director's chair, 22 years in total.  That's half my life, and nearly 
all of my adult life.  The now thousands of hard working and 
dedicated students with whom I have had the opportunity to work over 
that period are precisely what made this decision so tough.  And my 
many good friends in policy debate community also made the choice a 
difficult one for me.  I'll still see and visit with all of you, 
albeit perhaps not as frequently as at present.  I owe much to 
Northwestern debate, to policy debate, and to the NDT Community.

Tomorrow, I will post a job announcement on behalf of the Dean of the 
School of Communication at Northwestern.  The seek to full my 
position starting in the summer or fall, immediately following my 
departure from the job.  Without a doubt, this decision demonstrates 
the strength of the University's commitment to the debate program.  I 
informed Dean O'Keefe of my decision one week ago today.  Her 
decision to seek immediate authorization to search for a new director 
is literally breakneck speed for any University.  We are committed to 
a strong and vigorous debate program here, and Dean O'Keefe's 
response speaks loudly to that commitment.

Northwestern intends to continue in a leadership position in the 
NDT/CEDA debate community.  All manners of operation continue as they 
have for years and as they will once a new director assumes the 
helm.  We will be at the Texas tournament in full force (6 teams), 
plan on taking 5 teams to the Freshman/Sophomore Nationals at MSU, 
and hope as always to qualify our strongest and most experienced 
teams to the NDT.  We are in the process of negotiating a contract 
for next year's Owen L. Coon Memorial Tournament and look forward to 
inviting the entire community back to our campus.  Our summer program 
for high school students, The Championship Group, (aka Zarefsky 
Scholars) continues as planned, and I will continue to play a direct 
role in it.  With respect to the summer, I will play a lead role in 
staff and student recruitment, topic and curriculum development, and 
day-to-day teaching.  In all respects, we intend to sustain a full 
service program for the foreseeable future and beyond.

This has been the most terrific experience of my life.  I will miss 
it very much.  But the time has come for me to move on.  The 
opportunity before me is itself sorta the second opportunity of a 
lifetime.  Few have been as fortunate as I have been in my adult life 
job opportunities.  My work now is to do all that I can to make NAUDL 
as successful as we made Northwestern debate.  If we do that at 
NAUDL, we'll make a difference for many.

I'll see you in Austin.  Best. SD

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