At the OGDI the we see debate differently. The Oregon debate and speech team is one of the only full service forensics programs in the nation. With that wealth of forensics knowledge and history, Oregon has developed many innovations in the types of debate that are done around the world. In fact, Oregon invented the ideas that underpin cross examination debate. Even more interesting, Oregon style debate is one of the most popular forms of international debate.
The organization of the institute will include time for theory discussion, the development of research skills, knowledge and command of the topic, speaking skills and technique, elective classes, and a lot of practice debates. These skills will be fostered during lab time, theory practicum slots, negative research groups, big group lectures, and one-on-one skills sessions. Our ultimate goal is to encourage a passion for research, strategy, and debate that will translate into better study habits and an academic perspective that lasts a lifetime.
Lab groups will be kept small (12 students in each lab and no more than 10 students in each negative group) and will be directed by two senior faculty members. Theory practicum and elective classes will usually have six or fewer students, and each student will participate in at least 10 full debates. Research time will be guided and the emphasis during lab time will be on group discussion and strategy development. Students will be grouped with similar experience levels for the lab group and with a diversity of experience levels for the negative group. The small institute setting will provide more opportunities for small groups of students to work closely with experienced faculty members.
We will also emphasize depth in our research, rather than breadth, making sure that all of our students leave the institute with expertise on an affirmative case and at least two strong negative arguments. Being able to articulate a well-research argument in a compelling way is more important than producing thousands of pages of useless evidence. We will still produce a large amount of quality evidence—the institute has hired some of the best debate researchers in the country—but our focus will be on understanding the evidence instead of simply producing it.