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Why Does CEDA Exist? Tuna's comments to Scott Elliott
In a message dated 7/16/97 10:14:48 AM, you [Scott M. Elliott] wrote:
>My central question is this: Why does CEDA even exist anymore? THe merger is
>successful--or at least that is what most posts indicate. So, why does the
>exist at all?
>Why not complete the merger by getting rid of CEDA altogether. The
>my opinion, has left behind many of the core ideas that made it such a
>viable alternative to NDT.
I am sorry that I am late in replying, as I have been on the road. I
appreciate your whining, because you are still with us. I appreciate the
issues you raise now and have raised in the past. However, I think that you
are not fully informed about what the CEDA organization is doing.
I somehow feel that many of the self-styled revolutionaries did not read the
postings from the CEDA Summer Conference which indicated what our
organization is doing. Each of these represents a solid reason why CEDA as an
organization should continue.
Besides running the national tournament (open to ALL, not like NDT), managing
the sweepstakes point system (open to all types of teams, novice, JV, open),
regulating the topic selection process (which has been hailed as the best and
most open yet, but still people hate the topics....some things never
change!), and preparing a slate of panels and events at the NCA (used to be
SCA) national convention (so people like you can work toward tenure), CEDA
does a lot.
After 25 years of experience as a debate coach, and as a coach who has been
profoundly skeptical of what debate/forensic organizations can do, I now
believe that CEDA is the most open and dynamic organization I have yet seen
in our field. If you want to shake things up, get involved in the
organization and I think you will find it open to new ideas. Also, moving
from the "whining" stage to the "participation" stage might be quite
"revolutionary" for many of our colleagues.
I am reprinting the essential points of my report from the summer conference,
just in case you missed it. Please indicate to me which of these are
worthless and which of these are an abandonment of our "core ideas." I
specifically would like to point out the 11 action items in the Presidential
priorities, the excellent work of the committees, the issues covered in our
brainstorming session, and the work by the First and Second VPs. Just about
every concern you have expressed, Scott, is already reflected there.
THE VISION THING
The Vision statement initiated by Pam Stepp set me to thinking about a vision
for debate in general. The result is that I think I now have loftier and more
challenging goals. Things I used to think of as important (like judge
assignment and high-high pairings) now seem not so important. I see debate as
reaching out to new groups (inner cities, historically black colleges, new
schools who have never debated before). I see debate as a place where
different organizations and formats can respect each other and work together
for their mutual benefit. I see debate becoming not just isolated within a
few nations with debate tradition, but reaching out to create a new global
debate environment. I see technology as enhancing instruction and
availability of materials and networking, as well as making electronic face
to face debates possible over huge distances. I see a new crop of critically
thinking advocates moving into public life and saving our planet from any one
of many destructive scenarios ... former debaters saving the world just
before the hidden threshold gets us.
Are these goals too lofty? Maybe. But, as my friend and mentor at Kansas Kim
Giffin used to tell me, if you aim at nothing you will surely hit it. It is
nice to think that our ideas and efforts can be more important than
determining how the round gets paired. Think big, and follow it up with
planning and hard work and it can happen.
We discussed and outlined issues of concern for the "general" community of
debate in America. This was a "brainstorm" session designed to isolate
problems right away so that we could spend the rest of our time working on
solutions and implementation. We had a wide ranging and productive
discussion, including a fairly in-depth discussion of how our organization
can implement its ideas better and also increase its continuity in dealing
with ongoing challenges.
SUMMER CONFERENCE BRAINSTORMING
WORLD DEBATE SUMMIT
Teaching/Education of Argumentation and Debate
for the Next Millennium
FEAR OF SPLINTERING
- lack of coordination
- professional community lacks training
MAKING DEBATE OPEN
- new people/student/coaches
- new schools
- well-rounded students
- students/programs move to other formats; policy debating is too
- reward/respect creativity and risk
- barriers to graduate students
- success, leadership, happiness
- appropriate skills and training
- data collection/product assessment
- $10K/year card cutters
ADVOCATES FOR OUR PEDAGOGY
- articulate positives
- articulate and sell
- misperception by students and coaches
- meet to rethink our past; we may have caused all of this?
IMPLEMENTING OUR IDEAS
- need to be entrepreneurial
- instead of just complaining, solving, then forgetting
- problems with our business meetings
- taking organizational risks
- more coaching involvement in organization
- no follow through
- more time to work/implement
- committees fail after the meeting
- require responsible training
TOO MUCH TOP FOCUS
- inverse relationship
- occupational psychosis
- no time for anything else - students & coaches
- switch from tenure line to staff
- switch from dept. to student organizations
- direct academically oriented programs
- rich/poor gap
- information access
- focus and improvements, but
- long way to go
- gay & lesbian students
- coach diversity
HOW DO WE IMPLEMENT?
- more rewards for service
- triage our concerns
- goal & time line for the tasks
- comm time/blame
- reg committee
- make results/work public & useful
- train regional reps.
We also began to float the idea, originated by idealistic me, of hosting a
WORLD DEBATE SUMMIT in either 1999 or 2000. Pam Stepp had wanted to have a
CEDA Development Conference, and so we shall, but I had thought that what we
needed to do (especially given our concerns about the splintering of the
activity) was to find a way to bring disparate groups from all over the world
together to begin building the foundation for a new debate community for the
21st century. You will be hearing more about this and soon.
Sam Nelson from Rochester reported on the plans to host the best national
tournament ever. He will be meeting with Russell Church, treasurer, to iron
out details. The Hotel is all doubles and is the largest hotel in Western NY
with 300 rooms. Rates will be in the $70s for a quad. The rooms will be
located around a central quad.
I then discussed the procedures I support for this year's nationals. I
outlined them and asked the group to indicate which could be adopted outright
and which should involve an advisory vote by the membership. When I ran for
office I said I would not impose things on the community they did not want.
The following were endorsed and there seemed to be no need for an advisory
-Web page, maps, hotel, travel information, and invitation by December 1.
-Arranging events for students to have fun on Sunday-Monday nights. Ideas
included organized parties, with and without music and dancing.
-Tighter judge control. Billing no-show judges, developing guidelines for
debate start time and decision time limits, better emphasis on obligations to
judge on Sunday, recruitment of larger judging pool for Monday. Specifics of
this may need a advisory vote.
-Early coordination with a travel agent, and encouraging people to travel in
groups if they fly.
The following engendered some discussion, and it is thought that an advisory
vote would be needed.
-Replacing some high-high rounds with high-low rounds.
-Minimizing room movement.
-Distribute morning pairings at the hotels when possible.
-Judge assignment procedures. INCLUSIVE PREFERENCE.
a. Use of scantron sheets to improve data input.
b. A commitment to make sure everyone judges their obligation.
c. Eliminate the chance of anyone being "struck out" of the tournament by
cutting back massively on strikes.
d. Eliminate regional constraints, making it easier for regional teams to
find enough judges to prefer.
e. 40% A, 30% B, 25% C, 5% strikes.
OTHER PRESIDENTIAL PRIORITIES
1. 1999-2000 Conference. A Global Debate Summit
To begin plans to stage a major, global debate event before the millennium. A
conference would bring together as many debate organizations, foundations,
grant agencies, and educational institutions from as many nations as
2. Name change.
Our name does not serve us well. It does not describe us nor does it
differentiate us from other organizations. It talks about only a part of what
we do (CX) so it might as well be "Friends of Prep Time." Every time I get a
new administrator the first impression given from the name is not very good,
and the same with sponsors and donors. I will soon propose a constitutional
amendment to change our name. I want a name which also identifies us as a
national organization supporting debate in many facets of American life.
I will propose one of the following (help me out):
National Debate Union - NDU (union often used for debating groups)
United States Debate Association - USDA (moo)
National Collegiate Debate Association - NCDA (like NCAA)
For me the lesson of the NDT-CEDA fracture has been that once we really
encounter each other and rise above our format based suspicions and
stereotypes, we see our commonalties and our mutual opportunities much more
clearly. NDT & CEDA waited far too long to see these commonalties. I don't
want to make that mistake again.
-ADA/NDT/CEDA: cooperate on calendars, continue multilogue, extend
-NPDA/APDA/CEDA: begin multilogue, explore common interests and
opportunities, dispel suspicion and bigotry.
-International/CEDA: Network with other nations to create opportunities for
CEDA schools to travel to debate in other nations and to bring debaters from
other nations to CEDA schools.
We need to applaud existing programs and find out how we can become a part of
-Urban Debate Leagues: Atlanta, New York, Detroit, and more on the way.
Major programs are evolving to bring debate to inner city and disadvantaged
-Daniel Webster Project: adopt a local high school and help them start a
debate team. The model can be used or adapted.
-Soros Foundation: seems interested in debate grant making. Wow! Check it
out at: http://www.soros.org/hsd/index.htm I will be investigating this
5. Membership. We are up only 14 schools after the combined topic, now at 226
schools. We need to address this situation.
-New Program Packet is 366 pages long (hurrah Glenda Treadway) and will be
put online for new members (and existing ones).
-Each one teach one: a program to encourage CEDA member schools to adopt a
college close to them and help them start a debate team.
-Follow up study on ex-members: David Berube and the Professionalism
Committee are now doing this. Let's find out why people left.
-New Formats, sweepstakes expansion: Gary Larson is working on a proposal to
give tournament directors more control over the topic debated at their
tournament. I am very interested in the potential of this idea. Likewise, the
New Format Committee's work on creating CEDA friendly formats for use at our
6. Committees. Our committees offer a concrete way to address our needs and
implement our programs. I want to move forward with the committees set up by
Pam Stepp with only minor changes and additions. Their reports will come
later. My suggestions are:
a. if your committee fails you, do it anyway. One with it person can
accomplish a lot.
b. find committee members you need and jawbone them into helping.
c. pick people in your region so you will see each other fairly often.
d. recruit students.
7. 21st Century Project.
This is Carrie's idea but I want to support it. We need to do something in
recognition of the new century, besides the conference above. I'll let Carrie
give her video idea, for example. Any other ideas? We need to start working
on it now.
8. Commitment to Diversity.
The number of women at nationals has increased, but the number of minorities
has declined. My approach will be to attempt to integrate diversity concerns
into ALL that we do. I think a lot of these priorities recognize the need to
do more, and some directly contribute to this concern. One important thing we
could do is support programs to train minority high school students in
debate, and that will, within a few years, actually make a difference in our
numbers as well.
9. Sexual harassment officer.
I am appointing Jan Hovden as our sexual harassment officer. She will receive
training and be available at our national tournament. She will also engage in
education and training for the community. A two year term.
10. Encouraging and facilitating student leadership.
We need to work on electing regional student representatives earlier. We
should consider appointing someone to be a liaison with that group to advise
us and keep students connected to organizational leadership. A three-four
year term would be best. Anyone interested? Duties include: track regions
which elect student reps, observe student meetings, communicate with the
Executive Committee about student activities. The Topic Committee wants to
add a second student, an effort I support.
11. Ethics committee.
I am appointing Sam Nelson, a law school graduate, to chair the Ethics
Committee which is called for in the constitution. He and his designees will
investigate any ethics dispute at nationals.
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
I wouldn't think of giving Carrie Crenshaw's report. I will say that I was
very pleased with the operation of the topic committee under her leadership,
and I support the motions which she will be proposing to modify the topic
process. Her work on the mentoring project and her work on our NCA panels has
also been splendid.
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
Likewise with Gina Lane's report, I would not dare to speak for her. She will
be in charge of research at Nationals and the 1998 NCA program. Her work on
the Quality of Life Committee has been excellent.
Greg Simerly reported that last year membership was at 226, up from 212. He
can tell you the rest in his regular report.
We got money! We got a budget! Congratulations to Russell Church who now has
us operating in an open environment with an itemized budget, and with over
$13,000 in a Saber Investment Account, which we need to save for a rainy day.
SATURDAY PM & SUNDAY AM
These days were devoted to committee work and reports.
Here are some highlights of the committee reports. I am sure I have forgotten
lots of stuff. I urge each committee to post their information to the
1999-2000 EVENT: Committee of the Whole
We did spend time discussing a potential global debate conference and people
seemed to be getting quite enthusiastic. We decided to:
1. Draft a proposal among Prez, 1VP, 2VP until we agree.
2. Recruit people to be on central organizing committee, establish structure
and membership after approval of Prez, 1VP, 2VP.
3. Apply for a planning grant.
4. Create time lines, task list, co- sponsorship groups.
5. Meet at South Carolina to review plans and prospects.
QUALITY OF LIFE COMMITTEE: Gina Lane, Chair
There are a number of projects in the works. Gina Lane presented an excellent
paper entitled "Recommendations on Improving the Quality of Life in CEDA
Debate 1996-97." It will be available by the Fall at the CEDA web site
COST COMMITTEE: Jim Hanson, Chair
They will be presenting two types of proposals this Fall: suggestions to cut
costs at tournaments, and suggestions to cut costs at nationals.
Documents are nearing completion or have been completed on:
-Creating and funding endowments.
-Writing funding proposals.
-Tournament organization and cost reduction.
DEBATE AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE: Steve Koch, Chair
Looking for new members, outreaching to new fields.
Projects for 97-98:
1. Create a National Public Debate Award to recognize programs who put on
debates in their own communities. First, second, third. Nice trophies.
Programs interested will submit portfolios at nationals registration. Steve
Hunt will form a committee to review them. Done at 98 nationals. Broda-Bahm
will build a public debate website.
2. Create an Alumni Tracking Program. Get names and parental addresses at
nationals. Ask schools for lists of their debaters. Key in the data. Create a
data base for future use.
3. Create an Electronic Journal to share our work with others. Create an
on-line journal which consists of affirmative cases and negative positions
which are submitted by teams. We need to share our policy conclusions with
the rest of the world, and the rest of the debate world. Ken Broda-Bahm will
develop this proposal for consideration at NCA.
Projects for 98-99:
1. Commissioned research on debate and its impact on public life.
2. Program assessment package: how to assess your program and how to sell it.
Project for 99-00:
National Advocacy Audit: survey to educational, business, professional,
legal, NGO fields about advocacy skills which are critical and what should be
emphasized. A pilot will be done in Columbus, OH this year to refine the
PROFESSIONALISM: David Berube, Chair
1. Tenure and promotion document for CEDA coaches.
2. Merit pay document for CEDA coaches.
3. Local Economy Tourney Impact Reports. A few smaller tournaments still to
Projects in the pipeline:
1. Program participation and attrition study. Find out why programs leave or
die. Working with Executive Secretary.
2. Resources and Results. Survey resources of top 50 programs and correlate
3. Future Alumni Study. Terry West will do a study at nationals to determine
if debate involvement increases alumni giving to their school. Could be
NEW PROGRAMS: Glenda Treadaway, Chair
New Program Book (360 pages) was completed last year. This summer it will
finish the scanning process and will be available online in the Fall. After a
year's rest, it will be updated.
NEW FORMATS: Glenda Treadaway, Chair
This committee found this to be a challenging area to come to agreement on.
They wanted no to condemn current practice, but to look to new formats for
new needs, especially developing new formats to appeal to new students and
Perceived barriers to debate:
1. Too much work and time;
2. Too technical -- jargon and theory; and
3. Too fast -- speed of delivery perceived as a barrier.
1. Use a narrower resolution with specified action.
2. 2 person teams, speeches the same or could be shorter.
3. Use students as judges....THESE students. Students could debate in 4
rounds and judge in 2 on two judge panels. This will limit barriers 2 & 3
4. As students become unhappy with that judging, they can move on up.
5. Possible rules (areas of disagreement): 16 cards per constructive, 8 per
rebuttal, argument limits. Some though that using same students as judges
would make this unnecessary.
1. Circulate and post to listservs.
2. Hear and evaluate feedback by August 1.
3. Urge tournaments to try it in the Fall.
Can't seem to find my notes on Advocates for Diversity. We also started
talking about a Grant Writing Committee. I also know that Glen Strickland has
received a substantial response from the survey he put out as Chair of the
I hope this gives you and the other revolutionaries a better idea of what
CEDA is doing. We invite you to get involved and let's take your revolutionary
ideas and begin putting them into existence.
Should you find a better way outside of CEDA, don't be surprised if you find
me on the battlements with you.
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