The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0008; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

High school debaters to attend national institute at UI this summer

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- High school debaters and forensics teachers from across the country will converge on the University of Iowa campus this June for a unique kind of summer camp, the 66th annual National Summer Institute in Forensics.

The Institute, which begins Monday, June 23, offers three workshops for debaters and teachers of all experience levels: "Policy," "Lincoln-Douglas Debate" and the "Teacher's Institute." Each workshop consists of daily classroom laboratory work in such areas as research, analysis, persuasion, delivery and argumentation, plus opportunities for small group discussions.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, May 1. Application forms are available by writing to the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum, 12 International Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242 or by calling the Forum office at (319)335-0621.

"The Institute is an invaluable experience," said Institute Director Paul Slappey. "It provides students with an opportunity to interact with a diverse population as well as an opportunity to engage in an intense program devoted to preparation for debate and argumentation. Students learn skills that will assist them forever."

The three-week long Policy workshop emphasizes skills such as how to analyze cases, make and analyze arguments, conduct research and use evidence. It also includes classes and lectures on argument theory and practice tips, and students participate in practice workshops. The Lincoln-Douglas Debate workshop runs for about two weeks and focuses on a specific style of debate known as the Lincoln-Douglas format. Participants learn skills such as strategy development and effective cross-examination, refutation and delivery.

The Teacher's Institute, titled "Workshop in the Teaching of Communication and Forensics," is two weeks long and worth three hours of graduate credit. It will focus on the teaching, coaching, judging and directing of debate and speech activities and is geared towards forensics teachers with a wide range of experiences. Participants also will have access to classroom and laboratory materials from the Policy and Lincoln-Douglas Debate workshops, plus opportunities to hear special guest lecturers.

The National Summer Institute in Forensics is funded by the National Forensic League's Phillips Petroleum grant and the UI Opportunity at Iowa program.

The A. Craig Baird Debate Forum is the formal name of the UI debate team, whose members have acquired a national reputation for excellence in the forensics discipline. The Forum has qualified 36 teams in the last 25 years to compete in the National Debate Tournament, the nation's premiere collegiate debate competition. In 1996 a freshman team member reached the final round of the tournament, and last month a UI junior at the competition won the Top Speaker Award, the highest honor given in the field.

The team, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1993, is named after former UI professor A. Craig Baird, known widely as the father of modern debate. During his 50-year career as a scholar, Baird founded the nation's first international debate program, authored and edited more than 100 books on speech, debate and communication, and taught thousands of students skills in those areas.


(EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to pursue this story, either by attending a session and/or by interviewing one or more participants from Iowa and other states, call

Paul Slappey, director of the National Summer Institute in Forensics, at (319)335-0621. You also are welcome to shoot photos or video.)