Department of Communication Studies

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Debate at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt Debate ranks as one of the premier programs in the nation offering policy debate in all three divisions: Varsity, JV, and Novice. Vanderbilt competes in ADA (American Debate Association), CEDA (Cross Examination Debate Association) and NDT (National Debate Tournament). These are the largest intercollegiate policy debate associations in the country with approximately 200 colleges and universities participating.

Vanderbilt often has one of the largest squads in the nation. Typically, more than 30 Vanderbilt students participate each year. Unlike many schools, we allow students with no prior debate experience to join the squad. This allows a larger number of students to experience competitive debate.

Students benefit tremendously from debate. The debate experience helps one to develop and improve communication and critical thinking skills. As a member of the squad, students gain a better understanding of general theories and principles of argumentation and a better understanding of current world issues. Students also develop better research, critical thinking, and communication skills.

Because debate is essential to our society’s democratic process and important in successful decision making, the debate experience empowers students to participate more productively in shaping their own personal worlds and society as a whole.

Interested in learning more? Contact us using this form or at one of the addresses below:

Director of Forensics:
M.L. Sandoz

Director of Debate:
Neil Butt

Associate Director of Debate:
John Koch