Minutes from NDCA Board Meeting 9/17/2017

NDCA Board Meeting – September 17, 2017

Meeting called to order by Shunta Jordan at 8:40am


Members Present

Aaron Timmons

Adam Torson

Christina Tallungan

Dave Weston

Shane Stafford

Shunta Jordan


Members Not Present

Chris Theis

Sheryl Kaczmarek



I.                 Membership Reminder Email

a.      Shunta reported that we have very few new memberships and membership renewals. Shane is going to send a reminder email to the list serve and post reminders on social media.


II.                Public Forum Case Wiki

a.      In response to the accusation that some PF coaches who were writing down opponents’ citations were ‘stealing evidence,’ several have proposed a Public Forum case wiki.

b.      Adam moved that we create a Public Forum case wiki, which was approved by unanimous consent.


III.              New Board Member Elections

a.      At present Aaron is unopposed in his run to remain on the Board.


IV.              Topic Voting Reminder

a.      Shunta reminded the board to vote for next year’s policy topic, and reminded us that we may vote both as an institutional member and an individual member.


V.               The NSDA has solicited an article for the Rostrum on the topic of making connections and staying connected with alumni. Dave has been working on alumni relations at his school and volunteered to complete the article, which is due on October 5th.


VI.              2018 NDCA Conference

a.      After discussion of possible dates, the Board agreed by unanimous consent to keep our current weekend, which this year will be May 19th and 20th. These avoid Mother’s Day the weekend before and Memorial Day the weekend after.

b.      Location

                                                    i.     The Board discussed the possibility of hosting this year’s conference in Chicago. The advantage of doing so would be providing easier access to coaches from the Upper Midwest, which might in turn cultivate a new market for future conferences. The potential disadvantages are the costs of travel, venue, and technology.

                                                   ii.     The sense of the Board is that a move to Chicago is probably a good idea. Christina will investigate costs and report back to the Board.

c.      Topics

                                                    i.     The Board is interested fostering a community discussion about debate camp practices with particular emphasis on pedagogy and issues of race and gender.

                                                   ii.     The Board discussed creating a broader theme for the conference of pedagogical practices in debate, of which camp pedagogies might be one example.

                                                  iii.     Christina will put out a call for panel topics related to the theme of debate pedagogies.

                                                  iv.     The Board briefly discussed soliciting a presentation from members of the college debate community about debate in college, recruiting, etc. for the benefit of our member coaches advising college-bound students.

d.      Youtube Channel

                                                    i.     Shane raised the possibility of creating a Youtube Channel for recordings of the NDCA conference session. The idea was met with approval and the sense of the Board is that such a channel should be created.


VII.            Summer Institute Quality Feedback

a.      The Board raised various concerns about practices at summer debate camps, including absentee instructors, overpopulated labs with insufficient individual feedback, deceptive advertising practices, inadequate insurance coverage and logistical planning, and insufficient adult supervision. We expressed particular concern over the lack of information available to parents and coaches, the latter of whom often advise students on camp choice and may expose themselves to liability and professional disrepute by making uninformed recommendations.

b.      The Board discussed mechanisms for gathering data about camp practices and pedagogy in the form of anonymous surveys to camp students and camp directors, and then aggregating and sharing the relevant findings with the wider community. Shunt and Christina will work on a proposed approach to the survey and perhaps solicit an amateur statistician from our organization to help crunch the numbers and present the results.


VIII.           NDCA Tournament

a.      Future Locations

                                                    i.     Shunta reported that the new director at UCF wants to maintain their commitment to hosting the 2021 NDCA Tournament. Dave is going to communicate with him about requirements for hosting and verify that the venue will be ready and able to host the tournament.

                                                   ii.     Once the 2018 Tournament at Marist is in the books, Dave and Shunta will begin soliciting bids for hosting the 2022 NDCA tournament. The sense of the Board is that a host in the Western United States may be desirable given that our next several venues are in the South and Midwest.

                                                  iii.     Dave is going to reach out to our 2018 hosts at Marist to thank them again for hosting this year’s tournament, offer any support we can provide in preparing the venue for the tournament in the coming months, and check-in to see that preparations are on track per our tournament requirements and Marist’s bid. 

                                                  iv.     The Board expressed concern about the future use of food trucks at the NDCA tournament. They tend to be inconvenient, expensive, provide insufficient food, and not provide food fast enough to accommodate an efficient schedule. In the future we will advise hosts to be extremely reticent to plan the use of food trucks.

b.      Finances

                                                    i.     Shunta reported that the 2017 NDCA tournament took in approximately $24,000, primarily in entry fees, and paid out approximately $27,000, primarily for hired judges.

1.      This represents approximately a $3,000 loss notwithstanding Weber State’s substantial contribution for food and other resources.

2.      By far the most significant expense is hired judges. The tournament hired numerous judges and provided transportation and lodging for many, with costs often running to well over $1000 per judge. This figure is greater than even our substantial hired judge fees. The net loss from hired judges is substantially greater than the tournament’s net shortfall.

                                                   ii.     The sense of the Board is that the organization cannot afford to take a loss on the tournament given the slow pace of membership growth. The Board discussed various ways to address the shortfall, including raising entry fees, returning to a food fee, and increasing the hired judging fee.

1.      The Board approved by unanimous consent a rule that teams must provide at least one judge in each division in which they have entered a team, and may hire from the tournament no more than one full time judge in each division.

a.      The sense of the Board is that an important community norm is the willingness of coaches to judge, so that everyone in the community has access to high quality adjudication and feedback as much as possible. We hope to encourage adherence to this norm.

2.      The Board approved by unanimous consent a $10,000 cap on hired judge expenses for the 2018 NDCA Tournament.

3.      It is the sense of the Board that hiring out the commitments of those otherwise coming to the tournament to coach is a good practice. However, the Board feels that the costs of coaches’ travel should be born primarily by the schools and students those coaches represent, and so we should avoid paying for the travel of judges who are otherwise coaching at the tournament whenever possible.

4.      By unanimous consent the board approved a $20 food fee to be charged to each person attending the tournament.

Meeting adjourned at 10:13am.