Starting a Program
Here are some issues to consider in establishing a program:
You would need a person to coach the program. This entails instructing students, handling budget and travel arrangements, taking students to tournaments and judging at tournaments.
A program's funding depends on the level of involvement and size of the program. A small program with about 8 students that did just debate and went to two or three tournaments each semester would cost about $1,500. A moderate program with about 15 students that did debate and speech and went to three or four tournaments each semester would cost about $3,000 to $5,000. A larger program with about 25 students that did debate and speech and went to four to six tournaments each semester would cost about $5,000 to $10,000. The money goes to pay for transportation, hotel, and registration costs. Programs that pay for food money, photocopying expenses and that travel nationally (like to California or Illinois) obviously cost more.
3. Time Commitment
Speech and Debate is a demanding activity. Tournaments usually begin Friday morning or afternoon and end late Saturday night. For preparation, low-key programs engage in about 5 hours of work each week and the time spent on tournaments. Highly involved programs engage in about 20 to 30 hours of work each week in addition to the time spent on tournaments. Coaches and students can establish the level of commitment they wish.
4. Events students can do
Students can do three kinds of events, Debate, Individual Events and Student Congress.
In debate, students can compete in Policy Team Debate or Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Policy Team Debate involves debate on a topic chosen by the National Forensic League (so everyone in the country debates the same issue). This topic focuses on changing United States government policy. This yearŐs topic, for example, supports a change in immigration regulations. Teams of two students debate the topic. At each tournament, a team would debate in six preliminary rounds, and, if deserving based on their win-loss record, would advance to elimination rounds. Lincoln-Douglas Debate involves debate on a value topic. Most states use the National Forensic League LD topic--though not all (I believe Idaho uses the NFL topic). LD topics focus on value judgements. For example, an LD topic might be: Resolved: That the political correctness movement unfairly stifles free expression. Debates in LD are one student against another. In both kinds of debate, the students express their arguments and attempt to convince the critic that their side is stronger.
In individual events, students can do a variety of events including impromptu, extemporaneous, oratory, informative, editorial commentary, interpretive reading, dramatic interpretation, humorous interpretation and dual interpretation. I have included rules for these events from our tournament--however, each tournament slightly varies these rules.
Putting together a program is not easy and it does require a financial and time commitment. However, the benefits to students are great. I encourage you to pursue the creation of a speech and debate team at your school.
Thanks to xxx for this question.
Managing a Forensics Program
Coaching Meetings Judging/Critiquing Practice Debates Leading/Facilitating Discussions Delegating Research Assignments where appropriate Writing coaching handouts Organizing coaching handouts Researching relevant topic issues Communicating to students upcoming tournaments Tournaments Choosing which tournaments to attend Judging Advising Debaters on strategy Driving Supervising students Miscellaneous Formulating student evaluation forms Administration Meetings Publicizing meetings Setting up meetings for beginners and experienced debaters Organizing meeting times and topic discussions Speech or Debate competitive or non-competitive Photocopying Tournaments Estimating yearly costs Arranging for travel accommodations Arranging housing/hotel accommodations Requesting tournament invitations Maintaining accurate records of past tournaments, student ballots, receipts from fundraisers Balancing Budget on a regular basis Miscellaneous Writing open memos requesting use of funds Obtaining adequate supplies Public Relations Recruiting Designing advertisements Posting advertisements (lecture halls, newspaper, email) Attending high school tournaments Fundraising Grant Writing (internal and external) Drafting letters to firms and former UW debaters Editing and Reviewing letters Petitioning UW Administrators Serving the Community Brainstorming new ways to serve the university and community Arranging projects aimed at serving the community public debates forum topic discussion Speech Workshop High School debate workshop Moderator for public debates/forum discussion Publicizing projects Miscellaneous Participating in faculty meetings Hosting tournaments for high school and/or colleges Creating debate squad newsletter Publicizing student successes Maintaining UW Speech and Debate Union Web Page
Thanks to Brian at the University of Washington for this outline.