The Scholars program is designed to build community and improve retention rates for students with marginalized gender identities in college debate. The Scholars program began in 2012. Every year it is a little bit different, depending on the interests and needs of students and instructors. Our goal is for students to leave feeling a deep sense of connection and trust with each other and the staff. We hope that these bonds will persist throughout students’ debate and professional careers.
The WDI will be held from August 5 – 9, 2017 at the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone, MN.
What’s it like?
Unlike other instruction at the WDI, the Scholars program operates in a lab format. This is designed to encourage close and extended discussion about controversial and critical issues in debate. Scholars are invited to teach high school courses and electives, but spend most of their time in the lab environment. In addition, Scholars are able to spend considerable unstructured time with our inter-generational staff to discuss graduate school, business and professional life and other topics of interest.
Who should come?
The Scholars program is focused on students entering their first or second year of college, although others are welcome to apply. Although most students are likely to participate in policy debate, students in parliamentary debate are welcome to apply. We especially encourage applications by students of color, students with nonconforming gender identities, and students whose identities intersect multiple historically marginalized social locations.
What else should I know?
Discussions in lab are fun but deep. We work very hard to make the lab a safe space to talk about all kinds of current and controversial issues, with a particular focus on the complexities and intersections of race, gender and class. Everyone is going to come from their own social location, and we promise you that this will be a place where you will be valued if you open yourself up to rigorous and sometimes difficult communication. Plus, you might get some good debate knowledge!
Here is what past scholars have to say!
“A major part of my day, of course, was spent in the scholars lab. I have a few favorite things about that setting. First, the community of non cis white male debaters I met there really means a lot in making me feel happier with debate. I have confidence that I met people who I can talk to at tournaments. Second, I really enjoyed both the content and form of our curriculum. The issues we talked about are some things I have wanted more perspective on and they have been at the center of recent disputes in debate. The way that we discussed them was awesome and something that I have never done before.” – 2016 Scholar
“I am so grateful for this experience. I’m on a team that is very (maybe even aggressively) disconnected from the community. I was seriously considering not debating next year before I came, and being around the fabulous people here gives me more motivation to stay. I needed an opportunity to make ties outside my team, so thank you for fostering an environment that made it possible.” – 2016 Scholar
“Getting out of debate for the summer made me realize how shallow the educational experience was for me in high school. And despite knowing a bunch about international trade, Congress, etc., I wasn’t very well read or experienced with arguments based on gender, race, class, etc. For me, the strength of the WDI Scholars program was that it forced me into a place of discomfort, a place of self-reflexivity, about issues of identity and social justice and as a result, opened my eyes to different forms of knowledge production and inspired me to become well-read in these issues.” – 2016 Scholar
“When I first arrived at the WDI, I honestly had no idea what we were doing. We didn’t have readings or assignments, and I didn’t really know many of the people here. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to get out of the experience but that it was going to be different. Once we attended lab and started really discussing issues, I realized that I was finally getting from debate what I had wanted for so long – a community of support to share my grievances with. That has definitely been my favorite thing about the Scholars experience.” – 2016 Scholar
Past Collegiate Scholars
To update your photo or description, please contact us.