The WDI welcomes Cate Palczewski

We are pleased to announce the 2011 keynote speaker is Cate Palczewski.

Cate is a professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Northern Iowa, where she also served as the Director of Debate from 1994-2009. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University, where she was an assistant coach for the debate team. She competed in policy debate at Northwestern University and at Robert E. Lee High School in San Antonio, TX. In 1987, she was a member of the US team, and in 1999 she served as coach of the team, that participated in the Committee on International Discussion and Debate tour of Japan. She presently serves as editor for the American Forensic Association Journal Argumentation and Advocacy and has authored numerous articles about gender and public advocacy. She co-authored Communicating Gender Diversity, which was shortlisted for the International Gender and Language Book Prize in 2008.

Leah was named one of Womens eNews’ “21 leaders for the 21st century.

The list and summary of the winners is here:

Leah is the first one listed of the “7 Who Blaze New Pathways,” and a quick interview with/feature on Leah is here:
So awesome. Couldn’t happen to someone more deserving. What a great way to start the Year That Goes to 11.

Welcome Danielle Wiese Leek to our 2011 Summer Staff!!!

Danielle Wiese Leek, PhD is an Associate Professor of Communications at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI.  She is a member of the National Debate Tournament Board of Trustees, and works with high school debate programs in the Grand Rapids, MI area.  Professor Leek began her debate at Kimball High School in Royal Oak, MI. She debated for four years in high school and along with her partner, Lauren Korn, won the 1991 Michigan State Championship tournament. Since that time, she has coached multiple state and national, high school & college, champions.  Her previous positions include: Director of Debate at Florida State University, Co-director of the summer high school debate institutes at Northwestern University, and Curriculum Director for the Chicago Debate Summer Institute for urban debate league students.  Dr. Leek is also proud to be the 2005 recipient of CEDA’s Galentine award recognizing outstanding contributions to women in the activity.

Has much changed since 2009?

In 2009 Whit Whitmore, Assistant Debate Coach at the University of Michigan and Woodward Academy post the following essay on the 3NR. i would be interested in knowing if much has changed by way of the gendered language position since then. In other words, is there a lot of gendered language in debate and if so do people, men or women even care? I pasted his original post below:

The Success of Women in Debate: Are We Slipping?
Posted by Whit Whitmore on October 6, 2009 Comments (19) Go to comments

I decided to write this because I noticed a consistent theme in many of my conversations and thoughts this weekend at the Kentucky tournament. I want to go ahead and dismiss some of the excuses before I continue any further. Yes, there are examples of women who have achieved success in recent history and who are successful today. My point is not that there aren’t any; it is rather that there are too few. I guess the best way to describe my feelings on this issue is confusion. I don’t understand why this issue has to keep coming up. I know the solutions aren’t perfect, but we’ve at least sketched out some reasonable steps that everyone should be taking to improve the situation (make debate a less hostile environment and work to build and preserve self-esteem and confidence). I guess I have a two part question. Is it that these methods are no longer as effective, or have we just stopped doing them enough?

One of the major conversational topics was speaker points. I don’t think we need to lay the blame on the 100 point scale. I think the newness of the 100 point scale just refocused attention on an issue that has always been with us. Only three women received a speaker award (given to the top 20) at Kentucky. NONE were in the top ten. I realize it is unrealistic to expect parity in terms of success in numbers until we see parity in terms of participation, but there is an added oddity to these numbers. This was the break down:

1-10: 0 women
11-20: 3 women
21-30: 5 women
31-50: 1 woman

Does this bunching of women around and just below the speaker award cut off point suggest something of a speaker award glass ceiling? Georgia State didn’t show quite the same breakdown, but still only 5 women in the top 40. Gonzaga was somewhat better. I counted at least 10 women in the top 50 (apologies for an inaccurate count as some of the names were unfamiliar to me).

The dearth of successful female debaters creates bigger issues. It becomes self reinforcing when there are fewer successful role models available for hire as coaches at both the assistant and director level as well as for lab leaders at summer institutes. When competitive success is a necessary perquisite for being hired, it’s difficult to find qualified applicants even when you’re actively seeking them out. There are just too few to go around. I know how hard it can be to get these kinds of jobs when you weren’t well known as a successful debater, but I can’t imagine how much harder it must be for women who haven’t had/didn’t have competitive success.

The last major issue that came up informally in a round was the issue of gendered language. Maybe I’m getting old, but I debated in an era where it was close to taboo. There were probably a lot of contributing factors, including the testimony of numerous women on edebate and other forums that it was an important issue or the success that debaters like Rachel Saloom and Sarah Holbrook had running the argument, but it seemed like something that (for the most part) debaters just didn’t do. However, I am noticing the practice more each year. I have to add that this is a problem I encounter more at the high school level. This comes up in all the same ways (turning in evidence that contains gendered language, referencing arguments a female debater made as “he said”, etc.). I think maybe we should be doing more to make young debaters aware of progress the community has made so we don’t forget or regress.

I do have one caveat about the issue of gendered language. It seems to me that I hear more women in debate say that they don’t care or are unconcerned about the issue. Let me be clear that I’m not calling for teams to dust off their gendered language files and run them whenever the first opportunity presents itself. If this community has made some progress in terms of being receptive to women, and if that progress means that women no longer feel the use of gendered language affects their willingness to participate in the activity, then that is probably a good thing. However, if it is a problem and it does matter, say something. Whether it is a simple correction, a post-round heads up, or a formal argument is up to you.

by Whit Whitmore, Assistant Debate Coach at the University of Michigan and Woodward Academy.

Gender Disparity in high school

Many people are concerned about gender disparity in high school debate. Below is a link to a blog that where people are debating the issue. It is nice to see people get involved in the discussion.

The TOC Scoreboard had a similar post last year entitled “Commentary: Why no Females?” check it out:

Welcome our new co-director Christi Siver

Why am I so excited to be the Co-Executive Director of the WDI?

When I began debating, I was thrust into a tournament by a theater arts teacher. I had no instruction in debate and very little evidence. My partner and I threw ourselves into debates and I’m fairly certain if those debates had been taped, they would have been cringe worthy. However, debate gave me an outlet to develop my voice, and I’ve never looked back. But, I do remember as I went to big debate camps and competed on the national circuit that I encountered a lot of discrimination as a strong female debater. I had coaches at camps objectify me, conservative judges criticize my fashion choices, and other debaters call me names for being assertive. I wish that I had a camp like the WDI when I was debating to introduce me to a supportive group of women mentors.

As I have transitioned from debating and coaching to being an educator, I recognize the tremendous benefit debate provides all students as they move on to college. Debate gives students the confidence to speak out in class discussions and take ownership of their education. From my experience both at a large public university and a small liberal arts college, women can really use these skills to get the most out of their professors and peers. Unfortunately, women are often the least likely to view themselves as leaders, particularly as candidates for political office. While all women might not aspire to be president, I believe that building confidence in women through debate can reverse this trend and create stronger women college students and civic participants.Roblox HackBigo Live Beans HackYUGIOH DUEL LINKS HACKPokemon Duel HackRoblox HackPixel Gun 3d HackGrowtopia HackClash Royale Hackmy cafe recipes stories hackMobile Legends HackMobile Strike Hack

When I joined the Board at the end of 2009, I was excited to be involved. I knew that I was going to be moving from my home in Seattle and my debate team at University of Washington that I had cultivated over nine long years. Coaching parliamentary debate was a labor of love; running a student-led team with little financial support requires passion. I was especially proud in my final year to coach the top-placing female-female team (including WDI alum Katie Bergus) at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.

As I moved to my new position at the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, I was very happy to maintain a connection to the debate community. I was even more excited that the camp was moving to Minnesota so that I could be really hands-on as I learned more about the organization.

My excitement about the institution and move led me to volunteer to take on the Co-Director position with Aleava Sayre (who I had coached at Lewis and Clark College) to offer my organizational skills and experience with events management from my previous life in sports marketing. It seemed like a perfect combination – Aleava has all of the institutional memory of where WDI has been and we can shape together where WDI is going.

I’m very excited to get to work with all of these fantastic women that I have competed with/against, and admired.

Best Regards,

Christi Siver

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