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Frequently Asked Questions

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Why join Augustana Debate?

Augustana College is known for having one of the longest-running and most active programs in the history of debate. The first debate clubs were created a mere three days after the College was founded. Throughout the years, Augustana has remained committed to NDT/CEDA debate, and we welcome you to consider joining this proud tradition.

Since the tournament was founded in 1947, Augustana has qualified teams 51 times to the prestigious National Debate Tournament (NDT). Augustana has appeared in the final round of the NDT three times, winning the tournament twice. Augustana debaters are known for maintaining exceptionally high grade point averages and receiving 100% placement to graduate and professional schools.

What are some of the benefits of participating on the debate team?

Debate's emphasis on critical thinking, public speaking and research will help you to succeed in the many academic programs that Augustana has to offer. The topics discussed in debate transcend many disciplines, including political science, economics, philosophy, communication studies and history. Being part of the Augustana Debate Union introduces you to innovative research strategies that will help you succeed in your classes and other areas of life. Being able to comprehend and explain concepts related to current events, politics and culture gives you a strong advantage in your studies, and being part of the debate team teaches you to balance school, personal and professional responsibilities.

How much time is required to be part of the Augustana Debate Union?

At Augustana, strong emphasis is placed on putting education first and using debate as an extracurricular activity to improve yourself and your academic life. The team wants to work with you to ensure that you succeed as a debater, student and person.

The Augustana approach recognizes motivation as key. There is no debate audition required to be a member of the team and the coaching staff is committed to working around your schedule. Anyone who is committed to the work and travel schedule is welcome to be part of the team.

That being said, it is expected that members of the debate team meet weekly with the director of debate to take part in skills sessions, practice and argument discussions. While individual cases will vary, debaters should be prepared to spend approximately three hours each week maintaining their ability to compete successfully at regional and national debate tournaments.

Is debate a class that can be taken for course credit?

Yes! The Department of Communication Studies offers two courses in debate. COMM 200, Practical Debate, may be taken for one credit hour and may be repeated for a maximum of two credits. COMM 200, Advanced Debate, may also be taken for one credit hour and may be repeated for a maximum of four credits.

In each course, students are required to attend a minimum amount of tournaments, participate in a set amount of practice speeches and practice debates, complete a research assignment in coordination with the director of debate and assist the debate team in the administration of Augustana College's debate tournament, the Viking Debates.

Do I have to have high school debate experience to debate at Augustana?

Recruits to the Augustana Debate Union range from students with no prior experience to top speakers at high school national championship tournaments. The style of debate Augustana participates in, NDT/CEDA, is the closest type of debate to high school policy and cross examination debate. But even if you have experience in Lincoln Douglas, Congress or Mock Trial, making the switch to policy debate is a comfortable transition.

How many tournaments does the team go to a year?

While individual students' travel schedule will vary, the Augustana Debate Union travels to between 10 and 15 tournaments each year. The debate season opens in mid-September and concludes in early April. The college provides a generous budget that allows us to travel to national and regional competitions in Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Texas. These tournaments provide an excellent opportunity to network with other students and faculty across the nation. All travel costs are financed by the team's budget. Unlike many other programs, Augustana opens these travel opportunities to students with all levels of experience.

Are there scholarships available for debate?

The Augustana Debate Union offers $2,500 talent-based scholarships for debate that are renewable for up to four years. This money can be packaged as part of a merit or financial need scholarship package from the college.

Okay, I'm interested, now what?

Contact the director of debate, Max Archer. You can email him at MaxArcher@augustana.edu or call 309-794-7717.