This summer, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will host a training camp at which participants will map out strategies to triumph in a war of words.
The first-ever Titan Debate Institute, a two-week collaborative learning opportunity for high school students hosted by the University’s Debate Team will be held June 27 to July 11.
“Debate camps take place all over the country,” said Douglas Roubidoux, an instructor and director of the Titan Debate program. “High school students will conduct in-depth research on one broad topic to create evidence files and practice debating.”
Rising debaters also will have the opportunity to pick the brain of Roubidoux, a two-time All-American debater and a national contender while at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
“Students who are passionate about debate are looking for the next level of in-depth expertise that high schools don’t always have the resources and time to offer,” said Roubidoux, adding that the Titan Debate Institute will give attendees an upper-hand against their competition when the regular season resumes.
Specifically, the Titan Debate Institute will focus on teaching high school students next year’s broad topic — the presence of American military troops in other countries — by gathering evidence to support both affirmative and negative sides of the issue.
“We look at arguments, tear them apart and reconstruct them,” said Dan Stout, assistant debate coach and speech instructor.
Much of the institute will be centered on one-on-one interaction between high school students and experts and coaches from the UW Oshkosh Debate Team.
“The institute will feature lectures about debate theory, preparatory work for the debate and actually practicing debates,” Stout said.
UW Oshkosh Debate Team
In the midst of teaching basic and advanced debate techniques at the institute, Roubidoux and Stout hope to tap into the Midwestern debate talent pool and recruit upcoming standouts for the UW Oshkosh Debate Team.
“We think this is an excellent opportunity to nurture the raw talent in our region,” Stout said. “We also will utilize this opportunity to specifically recruit students to come to UW Oshkosh and join our debate team.”
Established in the 1930s, the UW Oshkosh Debate Team maintains a policy-style debate status rooted in rhetorical tradition; the team is the sole policy-style debate team in Wisconsin, as opposed to parliamentary styles, which surfaced in the last 15-20 years and tend to focus less on research.
“The students who are on the UW Oshkosh Debate Team essentially consider it a full-time job,” Roubidoux said. “We meet as a group for at least six hours per week, and many students come in every day for skills training.”
The team, consisting of about 10 students, travel to 14 tournaments across the nation every year. UW Oshkosh alumni who participated in the UW Oshkosh Debate Team have gone on pursue careers in politics, law and government affairs.