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CDD Hosts Conference on Speech & Debate as Civic Education

CDD Hosts Conference on Speech & Debate as Civic Education

Professor Craig Smith delivers the keynote address. Photo Credit: Ben Firgens

Last weekend, the Center for Democratic Deliberation along with the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences hosted the Speech and Debate as Civic Education conference at the Nittany Lion Inn on March 5-7, 2015. The conference featured a keynote address by former debater and presidential speechwriter, Craig R. Smith, along with a luncheon address by another former debater, David Zarefsky, dean emeritus of the School of Communication at Northwestern University. Over 70 published scholars and leaders in the debate community attended the conference, representing 43 institutions ranging from major research universities (e.g. Northwestern, USC, Kansas) to small liberal arts colleges (e.g. Wabash, Mary Washington, Davis & Elkins) and even high school debate programs. Participants also came from a HBCU (Howard), charter schools that emphasize debate education, and one international debate organization (the National High School Debate League of China). Featuring a mix of invited plenary panels and competitively selected papers, the conference explored a variety of topics, including the history of debate education, debate across the curriculum, connections between competitive debate and civic culture, and international and intercultural debate.  The conference was supported by an Advancing the Discipline grant, courtesy of the National Communication Association.