2019 Conference


2018 Conference

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, May 17, 10:00 AM

Kiran Dhillon
Director of Debate
University of Southern California
Starting from Scratch: Preflecting & Directing
Steve Llano
Associate Professor of Rhetoric
St John's University

"If you want to bake an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe."

This past year Dr. Llano was one of several directors of debate invited to participate in a round table consultation with communications faculty drawn from outside of debate to discuss best practices for conceptualizing and developing new debate programs. Dr. Llano will open this year’s conference with reflections on the round table and suggest core pedagogical questions with which directors of debate ought grapple.  

Debate as Civic Assembly
Cate Morrison
Director of Debate
University of Rhode Island

Bruno Latour describes the terrain of public life as filled with people and things assembled around matters of concern. “We don’t assemble because we agree, look alike, feel good, are socially compatible or wish to fuse together, but because we are brought by divisive matters of concern into some neutral, isolated place in order to come to some sort of provisional makeshift (dis)agreement.” 

Dr. Morrison theorizes the potential of civic debate to define new terrains for civic assembly; i.e., as a dynamic and intentional practice of assembling audiences around matters of concern to promote both public service and educational missions.  She urges a broad approach to civic debate topics, to think about matters for debate rooted not simply in policy proposals, but in things: in paving stones or ocean currents or extraterrestrial microbes.

Building the Ecole de Guerre Debating Society
Emilie Cleret
Head of English Language Department
Ecole de Guerre

Five years ago Emilie Cleret organized the Ecole de Guerre Debating Society to support elite French military officers in effectively communicating and advocating in English in professional military environments such as NATO and international peacekeeping forces. Ms. Cleret will share her experiences entering the world of intercollegiate debate and developing a new debate program focused on adult-learners who demand both practicality and relevancy-oriented instruction. She will be joined by Paul Lemaire, a major in the French Army, French Foreign Legion, who will discuss his experiences as a member of the society over the last year.

Report on the 2017 Social Justice Debates
Ken Newby
Director of Debate
Morehouse College

In its second year, the Social Justice Debates series (initiated as the Derrick Bell Debates in 2016) has demonstrated exciting potential as a platform for engagement and student education on social justice topics. Culminating in open and HBCU championships at Morehouse College in November 2017, the Social Justice Debates were the second largest civic debate series in the country last year, engaging over two dozensocial justice scholars, practitioners, and activists as judges on transformative justice topics. Morehouse Director of Debate Ken Newby will talk about his work on the series, including his bringing together the 2017 Social Justice Debates and the National Association of African American Honors Programs Conference, as a model for future civic debate development.

Report on 2017-18 Civic Debate programs

Reports from attending schools on civic debate programs organized during the 2017-18 academic year.

Report on 2017 Conference
Paul S. Hayes
Director of Debate
The George Washington University

Report on the 2017 Conference including review of 2017 draft best practices and items submitted for consideration for 2018 best practices discussion. 

Civic Debate Best Practices Discussion
Community dialogue on improving best practices for civic debate education.
Conclude by 5:00


Friday, May 18, 10:00 AM

Discussion on Conference Publication, Engagement

Community discussion on enabling and promoting civic debate education. 

Proposals & Scheduling for 2018-19 

Community dialogue on 2018-19 programming including tentative scheduling discussions. 

Conclude by 1:30

2017 Conference

St John's University

New York City, NYC

2016 Conference

The George Washington University

Washington DC