Its debatable…Speak Up!

April 30, 2010

“Great Debate” = Great Success

I am writing about an exciting new speaking opportunity CSU Chico and the Chico City Council has introduced to our community this semester and which it looks like we will be continuing into future semesters.  Designated as the “Great Debate”, this was a one-day event that took place at our City Council Chambers (and two additional meeting rooms in that facility) and involved students from our Small Group, Public Speaking, Argumentation and Debate, Forensics, and some select English classes.  The process actually began before this semester, when we met with the Assistant City Manager for Chico, who was looking for a way to foster more healthy and civil discussions at City Council meetings and other political events in the area.  We discussed controversial issues that would be of interest to the citizens of Chico as well as the students and landed on the Tax, Regulate and Control Act of 2010 – a marijuana legalization initiative that will appear on the California ballot in November.

We had stakeholders from the community come to campus and do presentations and answer interview questions from the English students, who then posted the interviews on a website for review.  We assigned students in select sections of Small Group communication a group presentation representing a specific stakeholder group in the debate – law enforcement, recreational users, medicinal marijuana users, addiction counselors/health care workers, local/county officials, and state legislators.  The presentation was designed to be an informative presentation on the stakeholders position.  Public Speaking students from select sections of the Public Speaking course were assigned a persuasive speech on marijuana legalization – taking either the pro or con stance.  Argumentation and Debate students researched and wrote affirmative and negative cases on adopting the initiative in the State of California.  Finally, two debaters from the Forensics team were assigned to do a demo debate on the issue for the “main event”.  Top performers in each of the classes were invited to present at the City Council offices throughout the day, with webcasting being done for those presenting in the City Council Chambers.

The “main event” consisted of the team debaters from the Forensics team doing a debate on the initiative, followed by a debate between community members who are active in the marijuana legalization debate.  The debate between the two debate team members was amazing – it was a proud moment for me and I think the audience and the community members who had to follow them were extremely impressed.  Footage of them made up the bulk of the local TV coverage at 11 p.m. last night!  The debate between the community members was also impressive – respectful, insightful, educational, and truly representational of what can be done when you get rid of the hostility and partisanship that often is involved in these debates.  The speeches were not designed to be filled with sound bytes, but actually included research, studies, and valuable information for the audience-members.

I’m not sure that anyone’s mind was changed or made-up because of the events that took place in yesterday’s Great Debate, but I can tell you that students were made to feel like what they had to say mattered for something other than a grade.  Community members were made to feel like their opinions were important, but were not the ONLY opinions that mattered.  Faculty were shown that students can do amazing things when empowered and given a forum.  Finally, the community was shown that contentious issues need not be discussed in a contentious way, but instead can be presented in an open forum, with both sides well-represented and articulately explaining their position without ad homs or anger.  I think we all learned a lot from the experience and I look forward to learning more each semester from this program.

Here are some additional links to coverage of the event:

TV coverage of daytime student presentations

Newspaper coverage of evening events

I encourage all of you to explore ways to reach out to your community if you are not already doing so.  I was shocked to hear from one of the initiative’s spokespersons that this was the FIRST forum of its kind on this initiative!  This initiative has received nationwide attention and has been in the media for months.  I can’t imagine this being the first forum that involved both sides in a format that allowed both sides to present their concerns and their hopes and their fears.  What better way to foster good decision-making in a democracy?  If you are in California and would like to put a similar program together in your area, I know the initiative representatives are interested and I bet you can find some community members who are also interested.  Its a great way to have your students see the value of debate and public speaking in the public arena and I really can’t say enough good things about our experience!


March 22, 2008

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Meeting at CEDA

Filed under: Community Outreach,Debate,Forensics - General,Pedagogy — bk2nocal @ 6:17 pm

Saturday at CEDA Nationals we held a drop-in informational discussion on current issues in debate, including but not limited to the discrimination and sexual harassment policies for the CEDA National Tournament and beyond. The Sexual Harassment Officers (SHOs) for this year are myself (Sue Peterson) and ML Sandoz from Vanderbilt. For those unfamiliar with the constitution, there are two sections in the document pertaining to the discussion. First, the Statement of Ethical Principles:

Preamble: The Cross Examination Debate Association is committed to promoting ethical communication behavior. Its members recognize that the adversarial and competitive nature of academic debate places participants students, educators, judges and tournament administrators in the position of having to weigh the merits of competing strategies that may have ethical implications. This Article attempts to set forth the aspirations of the Association for ethical and
educational debate activity. It is hoped that this statement of ethical principles will promote behavior and discussion which ensure the long-term growth and survival of intercollegiate debate.
Section 1: Competitor Practices
Students competing in CEDA debate contests share a unique opportunity to develop their abilities to analyze, research, organize, evaluate and communicate ideas and to experience personal growth. This opportunity is maximized when participants recognize their responsibility to preserve and promote the educational benefits of intercollegiate debate.
A. Participation
Participants in CEDA debate should recognize that their academic program is more important than their competitive success. Minimally, students who compete in CEDA debate should be in good standing at and be making normal progress toward a degree from the institution which they represent in competition. Maximally, students who compete in CEDA debate will apply their developing abilities in such a way as to achieve the very best academic standing of which they are capable. Sacrificing one’s academic progress for competitive success, or extending one’s college career to excessive length in order to go on debating are behaviors contrary to the goals of this organization While there are exceptional occasions in which a student with a baccalaureate degree wishes to participate in debate (e.g. a non-traditional student seeking certification to teach), CEDA debate is designed to be primarily an undergraduate activity. Competitive fairness is best maintained for all students when eligibility standards and division definitions are respected by all participants. Students should be familiar with the eligibility provisions and division definitions of the CEDA constitution and bylaws and of individual tournaments and should abide by those limits.
B. Competitive Behavior
Students participating in CEDA debate are obligated to adhere to high ethical standards. Such an ethical commitment by debaters is essential because the value of tournament activity is directly dependent upon the integrity of those involved. For that reason, it is the duty of each debater to participate honestly and fairly. Furthermore, students should remember that debate is an oral, interactive process. It is the debater’s duty to aspire to the objective of effective oral expression of ideas. Behaviors which belittle, degrade, demean, or otherwise dehumanize others are not in the best interest of the activity because they interfere with the goals of education and personal growth. The ethical CEDA debater recognizes the rights of others and communicates with respect for opponents, colleagues, critics and audience members. Communication which engenders ill-will and disrespect for forensics ultimately reduces the utility of forensics for all who participate in it and should, therefore, be avoided. Students should recognize the importance of judges to the debate activity. Students should be willing to listen to judges’ statements regarding conduct of rounds suggestions for improvement and reasons for decisions. While debaters should feel free to ask questions of judges, they should be wary of badgering judges for decisions and comments during the course of a tournament; they should recognize that the written ballot is the primary means of communicating reasons for decision and that tournament rules often prohibit revelation of decisions.
C. Use of Debate Materials
The primary creation of argument and the primary research effort in CEDA debate must be the student’s. Students who rely on briefs written or evidence researched by faculty or graduate assistants, on handbook evidence rather than library research, or materials and evidence traded among programs fall short of the goal of maximizing their development as competent arguers and users of evidence. Evidence plays a key role in debate. It is important, therefore, that debaters use evidence responsibly. Responsible use of evidence includes accurate recording and documenting of material, as well as avoidance of plagiarism, misrepresentation, distortion, or fabrication. Debaters are responsible for the integrity of all the evidence they use. Debaters should clearly identify and qualify, during their speeches, the source of all the evidence they use. Omitting the source of evidence denies opponents, judges and the audience the opportunity to evaluate the quality of the information. Claiming another’s written or spoken words as one’s own is plagiarism, a very serious offense against responsible scholarship. Debaters should use only evidence which is in the public domain and, hence, open to critical evaluation by others.

Debaters should not fabricate, distort, or misrepresent evidence. If evidence is misrepresented, distorted, or fabricated, the conclusions drawn from it are meaningless and ethically suspect. Fabrication of evidence refers to falsely representing a cited fact or statement of opinion as evidence when the material in question is not authentic. Distorted evidence refers to misrepresenting the actual or implied content of the factual or opinion evidence. In determining whether evidence has been distorted, debaters should ask if the evidence deviates from the quality, quantity, probability, or degree of force of the author’s position on the particular point in question. Any such deviation should be avoided because such alteration can give undue rhetorical force to an advocate’s argument. Distortions include, but are not limited to:
1. quoting out of context;
2. misinterpreting the evidence so as to alter its meaning;
3. omitting salient information from quotations or paraphrases;
4. adding words to a quotation which were not present in the original source of the evidence without identifying such as addition;
5. failure to provide within a reasonable time complete documentation of the evidence [name of author(s), source of publication, full date, page numbers and author(s) credentials when available in the original] when challenged.
D. Commitment to Program
Debaters should recognize that when they join a forensics program, that program commits substantial teaching and monetary resources to their education and personal growth. Consequently, transferring from one CEDA debate program to another is not encouraged. A student who is considering transferring to another debate program should notify his/her current coach as soon as possible. The student should consult with his/her coach about the desirability of the transfer prior to making the final decision and should notify the former coach as soon as possible after the final decision is made.
Section 2: Educator Practices
Because CEDA debate is primarily an educational activity, forensics educators should emphasize learning before competitive success and should try to pass on this view to their students. It is the responsibility of the forensics educator to maximize the opportunity for ethical development and behavior among all debate participants. Ethical principles for forensics educators participating in CEDA include:

A. Forensics educators should enter student competitors in accordance with national, regional and individual tournament regulations for eligibility.

B. Forensics educators should encourage their students to compete honestly, fairly and ethically in each and every competitive debate round in which they participate.

C. Because students differ in talent, experience, motivation and purpose, forensic educators should adapt pedagogical methods to student needs. In all cases, however, coaching efforts should supplement, not substitute for, student efforts. The primary creation of argument and the primary research effort in debate must be the student’s. Forensics educators may engage in limited research designed to teach students research techniques, demonstrate model evidence or briefs, or identify key areas of argument while teaching scholarly techniques in debate, but the fundamental arguments, cases, briefs and research must be the students’ own.

D. Forensics educators should maintain and teach their students to maintain, the highest ethical principles of logic and reasoning, evidence and behavior in debate. Forensics educators should teach students the principles and objectives of sound reasoning and the value of rigorous scholarship.

E. Forensics educators should encourage behavior that will insure ordinary progress towards the completion of students’ undergraduate degrees. Forensics educators should also recognize the importance of students’ development as whole persons, including positive relationships with family, friends, employers and community.

F. Because all students can benefit from debate experience at some level and because all students, at whatever level, require and deserve coaches’ attention and efforts, forensics educators should treat all students fairly and promote equality of opportunity for appropriate and challenging learning experiences for all students.

G. Forensics educators should recognize that the recruiting and transfer issues in collegiate debate are sensitive ones. The standard in recruiting and transfer should always be the overall best interests of the student. CEDA endorses the following guidelines for forensics educators:

1. Forensics educators should be honest with students concerning the educational opportunities of their schools and of their forensics programs and of the educational opportunities and forensics programs of other institutions

2. Forensics educators should avoid unduly influencing students from another program. When transfer between programs becomes a serious possibility, the student’s new coach should seek professional contact with the student’s current coach to discuss the matter.

3. Forensics educators should avoid conflict of interest vis a vis their recruiting efforts when running a workshop or tournament (e.g., granting potential recruits special jobs or opportunities), or when judging (e.g., rewarding decisions or high points to promote recruiting goals).

Section 3: Judge Practices
Judges are important to the debate activity. In addition to supplying decisions as judges, they educate the student participants through their reasons for decision and suggestions for improvement. CEDA recognizes the inherent tension and potential conflict between these two roles. In an attempt to facilitate both functions, CEDA encourages judge-educators to acknowledge their two-fold responsibility and act with competence, integrity, fairness and courtesy before, during and after each debate round. Debate seeks to be a full, free testing of ideas. Yet as educators, some feel a responsibility to discourage student behavior they find to be counterproductive. Often judges must delicately balance these two considerations: the need for rigorous examination of any and all views, however unpopular or unrealistic and the guidance and direction of student behavior. If undesirable behavior is discouraged in a positive, fair and courteous manner, the judge/educator roles can be simultaneously satisfied. Ethical principles for judges participating in CEDA include:

A. Judges should strive at all times to render impartial decisions. Judges should excuse themselves from rounds they do not feel they could judge fairly.

B. Judges should be willing to inform debaters, either through a statement of philosophy or through response to student questions, of strongly held beliefs or standards that could affect the outcome of the debate round.

C. Judges should evaluate debate rounds on the arguments as they are presented by the debaters, rather than on personal knowledge of or opinion about particular substantive arguments. Judges need not be “tabula rasa” but do need to be fair.

D. Judges should provide detailed and constructive criticism of any and all rounds of debate they evaluate. Reasons for decision should be in accordance with any beliefs or standards announced at the outset of the round. Judges are expected to provide written comments on the ballots provided by the tournament, even if they also provide an oral critique. These written comments should be made available to all the debaters a judge has heard by the conclusion of the tournament.

E. Judges have an ethical obligation to uphold without exception the tournament rules. Judges should inform the tournament director of any conflicts which could prevent them from carrying out this duty.

F. Judges who have the misfortune of witnessing fraudulent behavior on the part of competitors they are judging should:
1. conform to tournament rules (if any), and
2. act in accordance with their consciences in assessing appropriate sanctions.

Section 4: Tournament Administration Recommendations
In administering tournaments, educators should strive to insure that all students have an equal opportunity to excel. Educators should be particularly cognizant of the issues involved in scheduling and judge assignment. Tournament administration should seek to promote high quality and fair learning experiences for all debaters. Tournaments should be hosted for educational, not profit-making, reasons.

A. In order to give all participants equal information about tournament procedures, tournament invitations should include clear definitions of events and divisions, clear explanations of matching and judge assignment systems, clear explanations of criteria for advancement to elimination rounds and for awards, clear announcements of fees and schedules and a clear statement of tournament rules.

B. In order to provide a fair and educational tournament, administrators matching debate rounds should attempt to allow students an equal number of rounds on each side of the resolution and should maximize insofar as possible the range of opponents encountered by each team.

C. In order to provide a fair and educational tournament, judge assignment insofar as possible should be systematic, bsed upon a predefined process. Debaters should have equal opportunity to be heard by a range of judges and to be protected from judges who might have a conflict of interest.

D. In order to maximize the educational function of tournaments, administrators should make results and ballots available to all participants as soon as possible at the end of competition.

Section 5: Epilogue
Provisions of this article are not subject to adjudication. For specific standards regarding eligibility and their adjudication, participants should consult the CEDA bylaws. Resources used in the preparation of this document include the American Forensic Association Professional Relations Committee Code of Forensics Program and Forensics Tournament Standards for Colleges and Universities (1982), American Forensics in Perspective: Papers from the Second National Conference on Forensics (1984) and the Statement of Ethics for the Northwest Forensic Conference (1985).

The second is the Statement on Sexual Discrimination:

Preamble: The Cross Examination Debate Association is dedicated to the principle of free expression and exploration of ideas in an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect. Related to this principle is the belief that all members of this community will have access to CEDA debate activities without regard to race, creed, age, sex, national origin, sexual or affectional preference, or non-disqualifying handicap. These principles should guide the behavior of the organization’s
members and participants.
Section 1: The Nature of the Academic Debate Community
It is the nature of the academic debate community to provide a forum for the robust expression, criticism and discussion (and for the tolerance) of the widest range of opinions. It does not provide a license for bigotry in the form of demeaning, discriminatory speech actions and it does not tolerate sexual harassment. Any member of this community who is threatened by discrimination or harassment is liable to be harmed in mind, body or performance and is denied the guarantee of an equal opportunity to work, learn and grow inherent in the above principles. In the debate community, the presentation of a reasoned or evidenced claim about a societal group that offends members of that group is to be distinguished from a gratuitous denigrating claim about, or addressed to, an individual or group such as those enumerated above. The former is bona fide academic behavior while the latter may demean, degrade or victimize in a discriminatory manner and, if so, undermines the above principles. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination and consists of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, imposed on the basis of sex, that has the effect of denying or limiting one’s right to participate in the activity, or creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment that places the victim in an untenable situation and/or diminishes the victim’s opportunity to participate fairly. Sexual conduct can become discriminatory and harassing when the nature of the interaction is unwelcome, or when a pattern of behavior that is offensive to a “reasonable woman” exists. Discrimination or harassment by one person against another is particularly abhorrent when the first person is in a position of power with respect to the second. At the same time, it should be understood that false accusations, whether malicious or fanciful, have serious far-reaching effects. A deliberate false accusation will be regarded as a very serious matter, as will threats of retaliation by the accused against individuals who have filed complaints of discrimination or harassment. In formulating a policy on discrimination and sexual harassment, CEDA hopes to eliminate a rather narrow range of behaviors and actions from this activity. But, we cannot guarantee that the environment will be comfortable for all members of the community all the time. Often, arguments in debate are unsettling and disturbing. When one’s ideas are under attack the experience can be both painful and highly educational. The simple fact that a situation is uncomfortable does not automatically make it discriminatory or harassing. In this regard, it is central to debate that teachers and students should be able to take controversial positions without fear, in accordance with the principles of academic freedom. Being able to determine when something is outside the bounds of academic legitimate debate strategy or argumentation, or simple civility and good taste comes with education, experience and social maturity. The following policy is designed to foster education and provide grievance procedures for discrimination and sexual harassment complaints and help reestablish a working and learning environment free of harassment.
Section 2: Methods of Dealing with Harassment and Discrimination

A. Direct, Personal Strategies–the Preferred Model

1. You can sometimes stop harassment by taking direct action. Past experience within organizations and academic institutions indicates that many grievances can be resolved without resorting to a formal investigation. Therefore, this section outlines a series of steps that might be followed in an attempt to reach a satisfactory resolution when an individual chooses not to follow formal grievance procedures immediately.

a. Say “No” to the harasser. Ignoring the situation will not make it go away.

b. Ask the judge to intervene. Sexual harassment is a case when judge intervention may be required to comply with the letter of the law.

c. Write a note to the harasser. Describe the incident and how it made you feel. State that you want the harassment to stop. Keep a copy.

d. Keep a record of what happened, when it happened and who might have witnessed the event.

e. Ask another person (coach, friend, trusted colleague, the judge in the round) to intervene in your behalf–make good use of the fact that we are people trained in or learning about argument and conflict resolution. Talk out as many cases as possible.

2. In the event that a personal approach is inappropriate or unlikely to produce change, resort to filing a formal complaint as outlined below.

B. Strategies: Administrative Structure and Duties;

1. The President of the Cross Examination Debate Association will appoint a Sexual Harassment Officer (SHO), preferably a woman, who will chair the Committee on Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (CDSH). The CDSH will consist of no fewer than threeand no more than five active CEDA members. The CDSH will be provided with adequate and appropriate training.

2. The names of the SHO and CDSH members will be widely published: listed innewsletters, included in the national tournament invitation and made known in other appropriate ways.

3. The SHO and CDSH members shall be available to consult with complainants within the procedure as outlined in this procedure. (It is particularly important that the SHO be available at the National Tournament.)

4. The CDSH shall facilitate and review an educational program annually, informing members of the CEDA debate community about the definitions and interpretations of discrimination and sexual harassment and about procedures for initiating complaints.

C. Procedures in Cases of Discrimination or Sexual Harassment (these procedures only apply to incidents that occur during the duration of the CEDA National Tournament):
1. Complainants will have until the end of the following CEDA National Tournament to present complaints.

2. At any point during the proceedings any of the parties involved may choose to be accompanied by an adviser. All parties are free to consult with an attorney, if they choose to do so, but the investigation and hearing procedure is not a legal proceeding and attorneys may not be present or participate.

3. At all times throughout the procedures outlined below confidentiality will be preserved carefully whenever appropriate.

4. All written records pertaining to case shall be kept permanently in a confidential file held by the CEDA Executive Secretary.

5. Procedures:
a. If agreeable to the complainant, an informal meeting with both parties and the Sexual Harassment Committee will be the first step pursued. If an acceptable outcome is not reached, then the complainant may proceed to the following steps.
b. The complainant submits a detailed complaint, in writing, to the SHO.
c. Once the complaint has been filed and accepted by the SHO, the complainant shall be considered solely as a witness in an investigation by the CDSH.
d. As expeditiously as possible, the SHO and CDSH (or appropriate replacements) will investigate, meet with all parties involved and ensuring that the accused has an opportunity to see and respond to all statements made against him or her.
e. If the CDSH finds that no discrimination or harassment has taken place, the matter will stop at this point and the immediate parties shall receive notification that the case will go no further. Copies of this report and other relevant information will be kept on file permanently.
f. If the CDSH is convinced that discrimination or harassment has occurred, they will prepare a complete report including their findings, the statements of the accused party as well as the other witnesses and their conclusions about the nature and seriousness of the event that has taken place.
g. This report shall be submitted to the President, who shall review the evidence and, if necessary, request additional information.
h. In consultation with the CDSH, the President shall determine an appropriate sanction. Depending on the severity of the event, this sanction may include any of the following (this should not be viewed as an exhaustive listing of all possible sanctions, just the most likely): oral reprimands; written reprimands to be sent to directors of forensics and/or Deans of Faculty or Students and/or College or University Presidents; removal from future participation at the National Tournament (either competing or judging); removal of CEDA points; or suspension of membership in CEDA.

D. Appeals Procedures:
1. If the individual(s) found guilty of discrimination or harassment wishes to appeal the President’s decision, he/she or they may request that a hearing be held to review the decision. Ordinarily, such an appeal will be possible only if the individual(s) involved can present new evidence not previously considered or evidence of procedural violations during the formal procedures.
2. The Appeals Board will consist of those available members of the Executive Committee, not previously involved in the formal hearing and not having conflicts of interest. Replacements may need to be appointed to produce a committee of at least five members.
3. The Appeals Board shall review the written evidence in the case, consider new evidence provided to them, interview witnesses as they deem necessary and shall consider the proposed disciplinary action in relation to the evidence provided.
4. The findings and recommendations from the Appeals Board are considered final.
5. All reports are to be filed permanently with the Executive Secretary
Section 3: Epilogue:
Resources used in preparing this document include Sexual Harassment in Higher Education: Concepts and Issues, NEA, 1992; Sexual Harassment: It’s Not Academic, Dept. of Education, 1984; Sexual Harassment, Cornell University, 1990; Statement on Discrimination and Academic Freedom, Carleton College, 1990; and Whitman College Staff Handbook, 1992.

The meeting brought out a number of concerns about the constitution, how it is written and some things that we can improve. We are definitely considering some revisions to the constitution and would welcome input on that. But, the other concerns raised/suggestions made were:

1. The Sexual Harassment Officer(s) and committee should be more visible. The guidelines and statements from the constitution should also be made more visible/better communicated to the greater community.

2. We should figure out a way to provide educational materials/best practices guidelines to participants, including judges, coaches, directors and debaters, in how to deal with situations of perceived discrimination/harassment.

3. Question as to what procedures (if any) should be applied to situations outside of the national tournament. This included both other tournaments and other areas including hotels, vehicles, etc.

4. Regional SHOs (a title which the current SHOs do not embrace) could be named for each region and be sitting members of the Commitee on Discrimination and Sexual Harassment.

5. Issues/concerns about the area of the constitution describing possible sanctions, especially those that include notification of home institutions, etc.

6. Larger efforts to contact new coaches/grad students/directors in order to disseminate educational materials and best practices.

7. Revising the constitution to make clear inclusion of racial discrimination, gender and sexual orientation discrimination.

I would like to thank Omar Guevara for offering to help with constructing the Best Practices document for educational purposes and I would like to encourage others to get involved in the process as well, either through this blog, through email to me, and/or talking to me or ML Sandoz in person!

March 11, 2008

Job Opportunity – Progressive Politics

Filed under: Community Outreach,Forensics - General — bk2nocal @ 9:29 am

This was posted on edebate and I thought I would also post it here for anyone who may have missed it:

To: Graduating Seniors
Subject: Progressive Presidential Election Campaign Job Opportunities

The November 2006 midterm election was an exciting step forward for
progressives; but much work remains. The new Congress, on its own, will
not resolve our nation’s most pressing concerns.  If we want to combat
global warming, increase access to higher education, provide healthcare
for all Americans, end corruption in Washington, and redeploy our troops,
we must expand our majorities in Congress and take back the White House.
Students who are interested should apply directly to:

NAME: Adam Scott
PHONE #: 617.953.7501

Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. (GCI), a national firm specializing in building
grassroots support for progressive causes, political candidates, public
interest campaigns, and non-profit fundraising operations, is interviewing
potential staff for their campaigns to Take Back the White House.
Grassroots Campaigns’ current and past clients include, the
Democratic National Committee, the ACLU, and the League of Conservation
Voters. We are hiring for the following positions:

Position: Citizen Outreach Director

Citizen Outreach Directors and Assistant Directors manage grassroots
fundraising offices. They work with a team of other directors to recruit,
train, and work with a staff of up to 100 paid canvassers to build support
for the 2008 elections and a wide range of nonprofit organizations.

Position: Field Organizer

Field Organizers work in targeted Congressional districts and major
metropolitan areas around the country. They will recruit, train, and work
with volunteers to build the support needed to win on critical issues and
get good candidates elected. In fall 2008 Field Organizers will help run
one of the largest get-out-the-vote drives in the country.

For all positions:

Sound communication and motivational skills, strong desire for political
change, and work ethic are essential. We are looking for people who have a
strong leadership background, and who are ready to take on a lot of
responsibility. Previous field organizing or canvass experience is a plus,
but not a pre-requisite.

Annual salary begins at $24,000, and increases commensurate with
experience. Staff may opt into our health care plan. Student loan
assistance repayment program offered.

Nationwide, ask recruiter for more details.

To Apply:

NAME: Adam Scott
PHONE #: 617.953.7501

December 14, 2007

The Great Debaters – A Great Opportunity

Filed under: Community Outreach,Debate,Just for fun,Recruiting — bk2nocal @ 2:49 pm

The Great Debaters is inspired by a true story and underscores the extraordinary power of debate. As ideas traverse our world more rapidly than ever, the need for debate has grown in our lives. To celebrate the purpose and potential of debate, The Princeton Review, for the first time ever, is hosting an online debate contest for anyone who has a voice and wants to be heard.

Two people–an affirmative and a negative debater–put together a debate on one of two topics, film it, and post it on Princeton Review’s site. The topics are:

Topic 1
Universities should use affirmative action to encourage minority enrollment.

Topic 2
MySpace is Your Space: It is ethical for colleges, parents, or employers to get information about people from social networking websites

Contest prizes include free video rentals for a year (from Blockbuster Video), plane tickets (from jetBlue Airways), an autographed poster (from The Weinstein Company), and many others.

If you have ideas about how to use the film to make community and campus connections and encourage more participation in our activity, please include them in the comments section!

November 26, 2007

Get your students judging!

I am a staunch believer in the power of judging as an educational tool!  This weekend CSU Chico will be holding its Rookie Tournament and everyone on the team is required to judge.  In addition, I strongly encourage my students to judge high school speech and debate competitions whenever possible.  The p0wer of perspective can truly take a comeptitor from an “okay” speaker/debater to an “outstanding” speaker/debater.  They begin to see what its like to sit in the back of the room and have to try to decipher what is being argued and against which arguments.  They begin to see what type of argument sounds more persuasive than others.  They begin to see what works in cross examination, and what fails miserably.  And they finally begin to see the WHOLE debate, instead of just their side of it.   In individual events, competitors begin to see what a difference a well-placed gesture makes, how a speech with organization and transitions can truly stand out, and how much the judge sees from the time you walk in a room to the time you leave.  In my experience, it has been a truly eye-opening experience for all competitors. 

I remember when I was debating, the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo tournament had “peer-judging” in elimination rounds.  Each outround panel was comprised of two regular judges and a student who had been eliminated in the previous round.  I remember having to judge that first elim round and how much I learned from those two teams.  I wish that more tournaments would consider doing this.  I think its a great experience for debaters to be able to use some of their knowledge and to see debate from a whole different perspective.  I’m not sure how useful it would be for IEs, but with debate, so much of what you need to do to be successful is encapsulated in those outrounds that it can really make a difference.  And somehow, judging is much different than just watching and flowing. 

In addition to the benefit that your students can gain from these experiences, there are numerous high school students out there who work hard to produce well-written speeches and well-researched debate arguments, only to find a distracted, if not totally disinterested, person in the back of the room on competition day.  These students would love to have college competitors who have experience and insight in the back of the room.  And it provides a great opportunity for mentoring and recruiting. 

I strongly encourage you to check online for your local league activities (and larger invitational tournaments).  You can find contact information for National Forensic League local districts here.  Although some local districts are friendlier to college competitors than others, it is worth checking out!

November 13, 2007

Rookie Tournaments for Recruitment

As we wind down our first semester of competition (one more tournament), we are also getting ready for our big Rookie Tournament on campus.  CSU Chico has had a large rookie tournament that invites all of the public speaking classes and argumentation and debate classes to compete in a tournament towards the end of the semester.  This has been THE major recruiting device for the team, especially on the debate side of things.  If you are not already holding a Rookie Tournament on your campus, and you’re looking for a way to increase numbers and understanding of what it is you do every weekend, I strongly encourage you to try it.  I have been at a number of different universities over the past decade, and each had their own special take on the Rookie.  I thought I might share some of those options, with some costs and benefits of each.  If you have specific questions on running a Rookie Tournament, please feel free to contact me or to put your questions in the Comments area as I’m sure there are a number of people who run these types of tournaments, and each might have a slightly different take.  For those of you who do run Rookie Tournaments, please feel free to add your 2 cents in the comments!  The more information, the merrier the Rookie Tournament!

CHICO MODEL:  CSU Chico, Kathy Waste and others who were in the department spent a considerable amount of time formulating the best possible strategy for hosting a rookie tournament.  The original goals were to (1) help out department FTE, (2) recruit new team members by sparking an interest in them through competition, and (3) giving the campus a small taste of what we do on almost a weekly basis.  It has grown now to support over 200 students each semester on the speech side and debate that usually has 25-30 participants.  Much of the team growth each year comes from this activity and it provides students with a great way to showcase what they have done in their classes all semester.  The tournament at Chico runs two debate rounds on Friday afternoon, and then two more and Semis and Finals on Saturday.  It also runs an IE tournament on Saturday with two prelims in Informative, Persuasive and Impromptu speaking and a Semis and Finals on Saturday. In the past we have recycled plaques to use for awards and provided certificates.

LONG BEACH/CSUN/CSUF/DVC/SFCC MODEL:  While at Fullerton, I participated in a joint effort with Long Beach and Northridge to provide one tournament for all of our classes each semester.  Modeling this, I believe that Becky Opsata at DVC and Kristina Whalen at SFCC is now doing a similar event each semester.  This is a great way to get those who “are sort of interested but not sure” about joining the team out to a tournament without a huge cost or time commitment.  The students get to “travel” without an overnight stay and they get a chance to meet students from other schools, both as competitors and judges and see that this is something that people are excited about.

PEPPERDINE MODEL:  At Pepperdine, we simplified the event to only include speech and it was run one evening using an elimination model of competition.  We had one round that everyone competed in, a second round that the top half went on to compete in, than a final round from the top competitors through the two rounds.  This was a small event – usually 70 or so people, so it was easier to find the final round doing it this way.  We did Informative, Persuasive and Impromptu following the Chico model.  It was a pretty simple event and we gave leftover t-shirts and sweatshirts from our tournaments as awards. 

There are tons of other models out there, I’m sure.  Chico actually had a student write their thesis on the Rookie Tournament and she put together a wonderful handbook to help the Director out with running the tournament.  I would love to provide that to any of those who would be interested in getting a Rookie Tournament started at their campus.

 Go rookies!  Their enthusiasm and joy at winning awards is truly inspiring.  It always reminds me of why I wanted to go into coaching in the first place!

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