Author: Benjamin Koh

The NSD Experience: Mentoring

Welcome to our series on the NSD experience. Here at NSD, we believe our curriculum offers students the opportunity to pursue their debate passions while fostering a comprehensive understanding of technical skills and academic scholarship via a myriad of different methods. In each of these articles, we will highlight an aspect of our curriculum from the view of both the instructors and students that have experienced it. For more information on the NSD pedagogy, check out our website at The Mentoring System West Des Moines Valley coach and NSD staff member Trent Gilbert: The mentoring experience at NSD...

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Intentional and Functional Models of Judging by JP Stuckert

Intentional and Functional Models of Judging Within academic and public spheres, government officials are often conceptualized in two different ways. On the one hand, a functional approach to these officials regards them in terms of their offices. That is, the title “Secretary of State” has a stable meaning and represents a “real” position which persists even as the person holding the office changes. On the other hand, an intentional approach to these officials focuses on the individual as an agent who makes concrete decisions with the powers she is granted by the social recognition of her title. In this...

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The Art of Affirmation: Part 2 – Delivering the 1AR by Grant Brown

The Art of Affirmation: Part 2 – Delivering the 1AR By Grant Brown Introduction                   Much of the difficulty and fear individuals face when affirming is due to the dreaded first affirmative rebuttal. This speech is usually the lynchpin of the rest of the debate; if the 1AR goes wrong it’s time to pack it up and go home. This makes clear that the 1AR is an incredibly important speech to master, yet many debaters, some of whom are seasoned veterans, are unable to give adequate 1ARs consistently. This article, following a similar format to the first of the...

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Is Judging Good for You? by JP Stuckert

Is Judging Good for You? JP Stuckert I have, in recent posts, been trying to take up some of the questions involved in the claim that students benefit from participating in debate. These questions are, to a certain extent, familiar to us (though I hope to have made at least marginal progress toward addressing these questions in new ways). But one question which I have not heard seriously taken up before is what benefits judges may incur from judging debate rounds. Judges, of course, might be surprised to hear anyone suggest that they benefit from judging. When word spreads...

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Fiat and Radical Politics by Becca Traber

One striking trend in debate over the last few years is the pairing of an advocacy of radical, “kritikal” politics with a post-fiat policy option. In a “previous era,” the kritik was more uniformly opposed to policy making. Now, however, not only is it common to fiat when you are advocating radical or activist politics, it is also common to castigate debaters who are not. There are a lot of arguments about how any approach to radical politics that does not fiat a state action fails to prepare us for the real world of activism and is, essentially, intellectual...

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Welcome to the New NSD Update

The Bid List

  • Congratulations to everyone who bid at USC! That marks the conclusion of the regular season. There are now seventy-seven debaters qualified... Read more →