Missouri State University

2014 Missouri State Debate Institute (MSDI)

There will not be a 2014 Coaches' Workshop, due to low entries. We will try again in 2015, as there was a lot of late interest expressed. 

The online enrollment deadline was June 15, 2014. Our deadline was based on housing policies. If you seek to enroll late, please contact Dr. Eric Morris directly. You can read much more about MSDI by consulting our 2014 booklet

We thank you for helping make MSDI one of the fastest growing camps in the nation, and we are eager to serve you this summer!

2014 Online Registration Form (Click Here!)

You will still need to mail your deposit to complete your registration.

Read below to find out why MSDI is the fastest growing camp over the last few years! We've grown at a rate of about 20% yearly, largely on word of mouth. If you don't find the answer you are seeking, or if you want more detailed information, please contact us at EricMorris@MissouriState.edu.

MSDI has a scholarship program, funded from donations by MSU Debate and MSDI Alumni as well as other supporters. If you are applying to attend MSDI, you can find more information here. If you are an interested donor, click here for more detail about the program.

A FOUR-week CX-Policy camp in the Midwest

Based on the success of the 3 week option, we have expanded to offer options for 3 or 4 weeks. We will also have a 2nd two-week session. Here are all the policy debate camps in summer 2014:

2 Week Policy, 1st Session (June 22-July 5) ($600 Commuters, $1200 Dorm)
2 Week Policy, 2nd Session (July 6 - July 19) ($600 Commuters, $1200 Dorm)
3 Week Policy (June 22-July 12) ($800 Commuters, $1700 Dorm)
4 Week Policy (June 22-July 19) ($1000 Commuters, $2200 Dorm)
1 Week Novice* Policy (July 13-19) ($350 Commuters, $650 Dorm)

*Intended for students with no experience. Students coming off their novice year should enroll in a 2-4 week session. Extremely low student/teacher ratio.

Our purpose is to accommodate the growing demand for camp dates that allow students to attend more than one workshop. Whether you attend one workshop or many, consider MSDI a great start to the summer.

Registration Deadline is now June 6 June 15, 2014.

The registration deadline for the 2014 MSDI is Friday, June 6 Sunday, June 15, 2014. Registration includes both the application (see above link) and $100 deposit. If you complete the application as the deadline approaches, but are unsure if your check will arrive in time, please contact the mail at this email: EricMorris@MissouriState.edu. If you were hoping to attend MSDI but cannot meet the deadline, please contact us with further details. We want you to attend, but the deadline helps us to finalize staffing arrangements and avoid housing over-charges.

Secondary Mailing, 2014

The initial secondary mailings will be sent by April 10, 2014, to all who had applied prior to that date. New applicants should receive a secondary mailing promptly after application. The 2014 secondary mailing will also be available by email when requested, with two exceptions. First, we only send receipts by mail (but could send a duplicate if you request). Second, the Medical History form can be found on the Taylor Health Center website. Please note - you are not fully enrolled in the camp until a deposit has been received. If you apply, but are not able to send your $100 deposit within a week, please be in touch with Eric Morris about the details.

New dates, same high quality in 2014

Registration for the 2014 policy debate camp began February 28, 2014, and ends on June 6, 2014. If you are concerned about your registration arriving on time, please consider pasting your information into an email in addition to snail mail. Please note your registration is not considered official until the $100 nonrefundable deposit is received. The deposit protects us against fixed costs we cannot avoid when enrollees withdraw. Any money beyond the $100 will be refunded if you do not attend the camp.

The MSDI at Missouri State University is an excellent high school debate camp providing in-depth instruction at an incredible value:

MSDI graduates have consistently dominated the local debate circuit, and several other circuits. Many have qualified to NFL Nationals, the Tournament of Champions, and received sizeable college debate scholarships - in several cases, far above their cost of attending MSDI.

Our institute tournaments use a unique, day long preparation approach that allows for deep strategic planning. Although different from the tempo of normal season tournaments, past camp attendees have enjoyed this format because it teaches them everything they should do before a tournament to prepare for known opponents.

Our staff/student ratio is 8/1 or better, and many of the staff are current college coaches that have coached at the top levels of college debate. It's rare to get to work with such a staff at a camp price comparable to MSDI, and rarer still to have such staff as lab leaders.

Our camp size is typically around 50 - plenty for a good tournament, but not so many that you get lost in the crowd.

Event Camp Programs, 2014

Here are all the event camps options for summer 2014.

Lincoln-Douglas ($150 each)
   July 14-16 (Basic)
   July 17-19 (Sprint)
Public Forum ($150 each)
   July 14-16 (Basic)
   July 17-19 (Sprint)
Interp ($150 each)
   July 14-16 (Taught by Zack Perry)
Extemp ($150 each)
   July 14-16
Congressional Debate ($150 each)
   July 17-19
Policy Debate: Lecture-Only Option ($100)
   June 23-24 (9am-2pm)
   July 7-8 (9am-2pm)

Event camp fees are tuition-only. Students can make dorm arrangements at $30/night and eat in the cafeteria or student union on a pay-per-meal basis. Event camps subject to cancellation or consolidated if enrollment is low. We will refund deposits if a session is cancelled, but please confirm that a session has made before purchasing plane tickets, etc.

Some of our camps are designed with a basic session, followed by an advanced session (called a "sprint," with more competition debates). Students can select the one appropriate to their experience level, or enroll in both for a progression through the week. This unique structure keeps the camp affordable while also providing the chance for a comprehensive experience.

Each of the mini-camps has a very low number to make, and you can select whichever camps fit your schedule. There were LOTS of students in most of the minicamps last summer, and we anticipate more students in the coming summer. Registration deposit is $100, which covers any number of event camps that you sign up for. Students who sign up for the first 2 week session (or 3 weeks) can add event camps without paying a 2nd registration fee. The registration fee is NOT in addition to camp fees - it is just a partial pre-payment of the fee. Remaining camp fees, if any, are collected at the beginning of each camp. In the event that any individual camp does not "make," the registration fee will either be applied to other camps you select or will be refunded.

Each event camp runs 9am-5pm, with a lunch break. Lunch isn't included in the price, but students have many on-campus options in the Student Union or dorm cafeteria.

The Missouri State Policy Debate Institute is an appealing camp because:

1. Strong camp faculty

The policy camp is led by Dr. Eric Morris, the Missouri State Director of Forensics and Heather Walters, J.D., the Missouri State Asst Director of Forensics. Combined, they have taught at over 40 high school debate institutes, with several students that have gone on to qualify to the TOC & NFL nationals. They have coached teams to the elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament for seven consecutive years. In 2008, the National Debate Tournament designed Dr. Morris as the "Coach of the Year," the highest award given to coaches on the basis of competitive success. Missouri State debate teams have consistently qualified to the NDT, with a current streak of 15 straight years, one of the longest active NDT streaks. Missouri State also won the JV National Championship in 2005, is often ranked in the top 10 for the NDT season sweepstakes, and received prestigious "1st Round At Large" bids to the National Debate Tournaments in 2006, 2008, and 2010. In 2008, they coached the top speaker and a semifinalist team at both the NDT and CEDA. Other anticipated 2014 staff members include:

Kristen Stout: Former Missouri State Debater & Coach, Qualifier to CEDA Elimination Rounds, & Greenwood High School Assistant Coach

Wes Rumbaugh: Current Missouri State Debater, CEDA quarterfinalist, & NDT Qualifier. 1st Seed qualifier to the NDT from District 3, 2012. Two time NDT elimination round qualifier.

2. Low Tuition

The Two-Week Policy Camp Tuition is only $600 for commuters, and $1200 for those staying in residence. The three week option is only $800 for commuters and $1700 in residence. Four week sessions run $1000 for commuters and $2200 in residence. This covers instruction, distribution of camp evidence, and access to the Missouri State library and computer facilities. The residence option covers all of these, plus room and board. An optional meal plan may be purchased by commuters as well. Our prices are cost competitive with all major camps, despite our strong faculty and staff! You could easily save $1000 or more by selecting MSDI.

Tuition is even more of a bargain if you use a "return on investment" perspective. Missouri State provides about 16 college debate scholarships whose yearly value dramatically exceeds tuition, and they are renewable. In many instances, debate has arranged out of state waivers worth around $6000/year ($24k over 4 years). Although not required for a scholarship, attending a camp (particularly in CX Policy) is a great opportunity to showcase your potential to the program hosting it. The breadth of Missouri State's college debate scholarship support sets us above nearly all camps.

3. Emphasis on Practice Rounds

Last year, participants in the 2 week policy camp logged nearly 20 rounds each between practice rounds and the tournament. Our philosophy is that skills develop with effective practice, and we design our camp schedule to facilitate it. Students are given an evidence packet on the opening Sunday to allow rounds on the first Tuesday. Of course, there are several cases & negative positions written during the camp, progressively added before the tournament. Finally, students are given time for substantial strategy planning, including hands-on coaching, prior to each practice round. Several former students have commented that the up-tempo approach to practice rounds made MSDI a uniquely positive experience.

4. Low Student-Staff ratio

All our labs will have a student-staff ratio of 8:1 or better. Research and work time is supervised and collaborative with staff; all staff members – not just lab leaders - are available to students for research assistance, theory advice, practice rounds and practice speeches. The directors are closely involved with every phase of the camp. Our small camp size makes everyone easily accessible.

5. Great housing options

The camp housing should be in Missouri State's Hammons/Hutchens Hall complex, a fairly new facility using suite-style arrangements. Each room has high speed internet access and a full kitchenette. It is a short - and flat - walk from the library and campus instructional facilities.

6. Continuing assistance

Historically, many MSDI students stay in contact with the staff during their seasons, getting argument ideas and other coaching insights. We take an interest in students after they leave our camp.

7. Easy travel

Springfield is located in close driving distance for students in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The driving distance from Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana & Texas, while longer, is manageable. If students wish to fly to the Springfield- Branson National Airport, we will happily shuttle them for free on the camp's opening and closing days.

8. Endorsements

A. Nick Ramsey

Nick was a semifinalist at NFL Nationals in 2007. Here's what we says about the role Missouri State played: "Missouri State Debate Institute offers the best possible camp experience. After having gone to a big national camp, I came to truly appreciate what makes Missouri State's camp special. The lab leaders are really knowledgeable, and the camp is small enough that you get plenty of personal attention. They proved willing and able to work with debaters from all backgrounds and experience levels. Also, this camp is not an evidence mill - there is a strong emphasis on practice rounds, so a debater gets an incredible amount of experience in a short amount of time. Even though Missouri State's debate institute is cheaper than larger camps, the value is exponentially greater. I was enabled to compete both regionally and nationally based on what I learned at MSDI. I broke at nationals my sophomore year and then finished in semifinals my junior year - this would not have been possible without the helpful instruction I received at MSDI."

B. Samantha Nichols

Samantha was the top speaker at the DCI in Kansas (2011), and a multi-year NDT qualifier. She says: "MSDI was by far the best debate camp I ever went to. The focused practice rounds and great lectures set me up for a very successful debate season. Rather than being forced to a learn a style that may not be conducive to your region, you get smart advice that can be applied anywhere. The entire atmosphere of MSDI was awesome. You will leave MSDI with sharper skills, more confidence, and definitely some great friendships!"

In addition to Nick & Samantha, MSDI has also produced numerous students who qualified for NFL in policy debate, cleared at NFL in policy debate, accumulated Tournament of Champions bids, and competed at the TOC. Nonetheless, the camp is designed to accelerate the learning curve of students who may have considerably less experience or success.

The Missouri State Debate Institute: CX Camp Philosophy

Many of the students attending our camp debate in areas where lay judges are common. Although we consider debate valuable in all forms, we are particularly focused on camp practices with encourage sustaining and expanding debate in such settings. Although our camp staff is associated with our college debate program, the staffers understand and appreciate that successful approaches vary by the judge and circuit. Since there are many camps which cater to TOC-style or K debating, our primary mission is to create a middle-of-the-topic institute taught by highly qualified staff.

We post camp files on the NDCA's Open Evidence Project website, and looking at our camp's past files will give you a feel for our camp experience. We generally write cases in each of the novice-areas (suggested by the National Federation), as well as other major cases in the middle of the topic. Although students select their case for camp tournaments, we rotate the cases in practice rounds so that students have both affirmative and negative experience on a range of cases.

While our debaters read CP's and K's in NDT/CEDA debate, they are a minor emphasis during MSDI. We generally have only a couple of each in the camp files (encouraging students to understand instead of fear them) but we encouage students to focus primarily on debating the case and disadvantages in a line-by-line approach. Students whose local circuits rely on college judges and CP/K strategies have generally opted for the 3 or 4 week option, and we attempt to tailor the 3rd and 4th week to meet those needs more directly. Students who feel the camp philosophy serves them well will have also have a 3rd or 4th week tailored to their needs.

Our camp is also skills-heavy, in comparison to theory- or research- heavy camps. Although the camp files are impressive, we emphasize practice speeches and debates. Over the camp, students will average over 1.5 practice debates per day. A typical day also includes several speeches, and several of the camp discussions are reinforced with drills.

Although most MSDI students debate in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, or Oklahoma, we believe there are many other regions of the country whose students would benefit from this approach. Please feel free to contact Dr. Eric Morris for follow up questions or clarification about the camp's philosophy.

Coaches: Help MSDI serve your needs!

We are open to creating camp instruction packages to serve groups of students. If you can assure a group of students (whether from your own school or in your area), we are willing to explore setting up a speciallized camp - perhaps even one in your area to reduce room & board costs. Please feel free to contact Dr. Eric Morris if you wish to explore such arrangements. If you contact us before April 15, we will have more flexibility for the coming summer than if contacted later.

Find out more, or sign up now!

Here are links to other pages that will help you decide if MSDI is right for you:

Camp Staff: This page provides a list of MSDI anticipated staff members, and will be updated as the camps' size grows.

Frequently Asked Questions: This page can provide you will answers to many of the common questions, and many be updated in response to student questions.

Online Registration Form (Click Here!)

You will still need to mail your deposit to complete your registration.

If you don't find the answer you are seeking, or if you want more detailed information, please contact us at EricMorris@MissouriState.edu.

Please write, phone, or email us:

Eric Morris, Director
Missouri State Debate Institute / Debate Scholar's Academy of Missouri
Dept of Communication, Craig 366A
Missouri State University
901 S. National Ave
Springfield, MO 65897

Director's Office: 417-836-7636
Asst Director's Office: 417-836-6564

Camp E-Mail:
Director's E-Mail: EricMorris@MissouriState.edu
Asst Director's Email: HeatherWalters@MissouriState.edu .