2023 Missouri State Debate Institute (MSDI)
You've reached the 2023 MSDI page, but we are using a new web building system and will need to get help changing the title.
The 2023 MSDI two-week policy will be offered LIVE. The live camp is June 25 - July 8. The commuter option costs $600, and the price is $1400 if the dorm/meals option is selected.
In 2023, we are offering FIVE event camps during our third week (July 9-14). The options include four live camps (Novice Policy, LD Debate, PF Debate, Individual Events) and an online policy camp. The commuter option costs $300, and the price is $650 if the dorm/meals option is selected for a live camp.
Please wait to confirm your event camp has made by the June 9, 2023 registration deadline before purchasing airline tickets.
The date ranges above include Sunday check in - instruction always begins at 9am on the next day (Monday).
We added a Fellows program to the two week policy camp last year, and we will continue that in 2023. The Fellows program is for experience students who are willing to do some additional work before/after camp (as well as demo rounds during camp), for the purpose of generating educational materials for policy programs after MSDI is complete. The event camps are not large enough to support a Fellows program at this time.
Also, we do have some scholarship support. The questions we need to consider your application are discussed in the FAQ section, but the scholarship application form can be accessed here. Students will know if they have received a scholarship offer by June 1, and can still arrange a deposit before the deadline. Please fill out the form completely, and applications received by May 15 will receive initial consideration.
The MSDI scholarship program is funded from donations by MSU Debate and MSDI Alumni as well as other supporters. If you are an interested donor, details can be found on the Debate homepage.
You can read much more about MSDI by consulting our online brochure. We thank you for helping make MSDI one of the fastest growing camps in the nation, and we are eager to serve you next summer!
If you are applying to attend MSDI, refer to the Camp FAQ.
You need to send in 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% in most years (all camps shrank in 2020), 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.
An CX-Policy camp at an affordable price
We are offering 2 week LIVE policy & 1 week ONLINE policy institutes in 2023. Here are all the policy debate camps in summer 2023:
2 Week Policy, (June 26 - July 8) ($600 Commuter, $800 more if room & board required)
1 Week Policy ONLINE, (July 10 - July 14) ($300 Online) (Plus pre-camp recorded lectures)
The live camps moves in on Sunday (June 26) but instruction begins at 9am on Monday.
Registration Deadline is June 9, 2023.
Registration includes both the online application (see above link) and $100 nonrefundable* deposit. The deposit applied to the camp fee, so a typical student in the 2 week residence hall program would submit $100 when they register and the balance of $1300 would be due by registration on June 26th. The deposit protects us against fixed costs we cannot avoid when enrollees withdraw. Any money beyond the $100 would be refunded if you cannot attend the camp, but paying online by credit card makes refunds more efficient. If events force us to change modality, we will offer short windows for deposit returns. We encourage students flying in to a live camp to postpone buying plane tickets until June, to confirm your camp has made.
If you complete the application as the deadline approaches, but are unsure if your check will arrive in time, please contact 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 Packet, 2023
Please make sure your email address is correct in your online application!
The initial POLICY secondary packets will be sent by email around May 15, 2023. Event camp packers will be sent by email around June 16, 2023.
After that day, new applicants should receive a secondary mailing within a few days after application. The secondary mailing will also be available in our Dropbox, but it will show last year's secondary mailing until we have final confirmation on this summer's arrangements. We only send receipts individually (but could send a duplicate if you request). Please note - you are not yet 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 through CASHNet, please be in touch with Eric Morris about the details.
New dates, same high quality in 2023
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 NSDA 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 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 over 30 CX Policy students - plenty for a good tournament, but not so many that you get lost in the crowd.
Event Camp Programs, 2023
Here are all the event camps options for summer 2023. Each camp runs 9am-5pm, but we use evenings for reinforcement/drills instead of new content. Dorm students check in on July 9, and have supplemental evening activities (but all new content happens before 5pm)
Public Forum Debate ($300 commuter, $350 more if room & board required)
July 10-14 (9am-5pm)
Lincoln-Douglas Debate ($300 commuter, $350 more if room & board required)
July 10-14 (9am-5pm)
Novice CX Debate ($300 commuter, $350 more if room & board required)
July 10-14 (9am-5pm)
Individual Events ($300 commuter, $350 more if room & board required)
July 10-14 (9am-5pm)
ONLINE Debate ($300 online)
July 10-14 (11am-7pm cst)
The nonrefundable registration deposit is $100, which covers any number of MSDI camps that you sign up for. Students who sign up for the first 2 week session 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 may either be applied to other camps you select or will be refunded (your choice). Because of the "make" policy, event camp secondary mailings will go out by June 16th, and we will notify anyone whose camp did not make by June 12th.
Each event camp runs 9am-5pm with a lunch break.
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 Greenwood High School Director of Forensics. Combined, they have taught at over 48 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 2022 staff members include:
Kristen Stout: Crowder College Coach, Qualifier to CEDA Elimination Rounds, & Greenwood High School Assistant Coach. MSDI coach since 2012.
Clayton Engelby: Former MSU Debate, MSU Assistant Coach, NDT qualifier in 2021
Parker Hopkins: MSU Assistant Coach, Coached at MSDI in 2018-9
2. Low Tuition
The Two-Week Policy Camp Tuition is only $600 for commuters (or online). This covers instruction, distribution of camp evidence, and access to the Missouri State library and computer facilities. The residence option ($800 additional) covers all of these, plus room and board. 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 MSDI tuition, and they are renewable. In many instances, debate has arranged out of state waivers worth around $8000/year ($32k 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. Collectively, we are aware of MSDI alumni receiving over $500,000 in college debate scholarships from various schools in the past two decades.
The breadth of Missouri State's college debate scholarship support sets us above nearly all camps.
You can also apply for a scholarship to ATTEND MSDI. You need to send an email addressing five specific questions (see FAQ page). You can wait until after hearing from us (usually by Memorial Day) before finalizing your registration with your deposit, but we do ask scholarship applicants to complete the online form.
3. Emphasis on Practice Rounds
Typically, participants in the live 2 week policy camp log over 20 rounds each between practice rounds and the tournament. We have been closer to 7 rounds / week for the online camp (with the possibility of optional evening sessions for no additional charge).
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. Strong staff-student 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. Our advertised ratio does not include the Missouri State Debaters who may judge such rounds - if they were included, the ratio would be much lower!
5. Great housing options
The camp housing is usually 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.
A. Nick Ramsey
Nick was a semifinalist at NSDA Nationals. He said: "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."
B. Samantha Nichols
Samantha was the top speaker at NSDA Nationals (2011), and a multi-year NDT qualifier. She said: "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.
C. Recent Feedback
We conduct camp evaluations each year - anonymous respondents gave us permission to share the following:
2022 "Liked the emphasis on practice rounds, loved the instructors and judges all were nice." "I liked the one-on-one time we got to have with the instructors during lab time." "I really liked getting the chance to redo speeches - I felt like it was the way that I improved the most, and honestly there wasn't anything that I can think of that I disliked. I've improved so much just from day one and I have everyone here at camp to thank for that." "I loved the lab rooms, I had so much fun with the people in my group and the lab leaders. Everyone was so nice and I loved that we were able to joke around. I loved the one-one help that was always offered. Anything I had questions on was explained clearly and I’m a way that I could comprehend."
2021 "I think that the camp was run super well, it felt super engaging and I not only learned a lot about the new topic but also had a lot of fun doing so, even made some new friends in the process :)." "The practice tournament was also pretty fun - it was nice to get a sense of how things might be in the regular season (and also debate with someone who you aren't necessarily familiar with)." "Something I really liked about MSDI was the level of engagement that it offered with the topic. There was a lot of hands-on work and speaking which was very helpful." "I really loved all of the personal feedback I got from each judge/staff member. They all helped me grow as an individual and as a debater."
2020 "I really liked how much I learned throughout the camp, about new cases and evidence as well as strategies. I also really liked the drills that we did, I thought they were really helpful. The practice rounds were super beneficial and the feedback was really great." "I liked the support we got from the camp instructors and encouragement to ask question - the environment that was set up made it really easy to learn more. I also liked the number of drills and practice debates we did. I think this camp is great for a novice debater."
2019 "I don’t have any questions, but you all should know the impact this made on me. I went from being a novice to having the same level of skill that I see in debaters I aspire to be. You all gave me that, and I am so grateful. The entire debate staff is amazing, and I would love to come back to MSDI in the future and maybe even Missouri State Debate." "I thought camp was overall a very good jump start to the topic, and the practice rounds made it so that I will probably have a significant leg up on the competition." "This camp was very fun and it was a very good learning experience! Everyone is very nice and helpful."
2018 "This is my last year and it's incredibly bittersweet. It's a lot of hard work and the days can be long. I would change nothing about the experience though. All of the staff are really encouraging and understanding! You learn so much in two weeks about debate and you make plenty of friends along the way. Thanks for the lovely three years." "Having the ability to interact with amazing camp staff, the great price, and having extremely frequent practice rounds makes this probably one of the best camps in the Midwest." "Keep up the good work. I’m most likely coming back next year. It was an amazing learning experience and I had a lot of fun." "Camp really feels like a close knit community, there’s no way you can leave without making new relationships and some great memories." "The camp was a great experience over the 2 times I attended. I got great experience and made some lasting friendships." "The overall camp experience was amazing, I felt like I truly improved and got a full understanding of the topic for next year. It makes me really want to get involved in debate at my school, and come back next year." "This camp might seem hard, and don't get me wrong, it is, but it will all pay off. This camp has taught me more than I would have learned in 2 years. You will feel like you need to give up, or that everyone is better than you, or that you are just not good enough, but everything will work out in the end and it will all be worth it. Take it from someone who had no debate experience before this camp and still came and learned a lot." "MSDI was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone that can go." "MSDI will help you advance in debate exponentially. Attending this camp as a post-Nov is a huge benefit." "I enjoyed the camp! It taught me a lot and gave me an opportunity to meet and become close to other people who do policy debate."
2017 "This camp really trained me to become better and more understanding. Most camps that I have gone to have done mostly evidence research but here the round training is the focus and develops your skills in ways that lectures cannot." "MSDI has a residence hall board game program that's unmatched." This was an absolutely amazing experience. I learned an incredible amount of stuff that I can't wait to take into my sophomore year!" "This is now my second year attending MSDI and I feel like it keeps getting better. This year is by far the best." "MSDI is a enriching experience that teaches you about debate, allows you to meet new friends, and be exposed to a entirely different world of debate." "Definitely one of the best summer experiences I've ever had. The kids here are smart and very cool! I've been here two years in a row and each experience has been better than the last. I felt included and I've made friends that I still keep up with a year later. The staff here is very knowledgeable and capable (also very friendly). MSDI helps my social and debate skills. I won't forget my time here at MSDI anytime soon." "This is a great camp to help you improve in-round skills and better understand theories you may not have heard of. I would definitely recommend this to anyone in a lay district."
2016 "MSDI is a great experience. It lets you learn finer details about not only the topic, but policy debate as a whole. Specific lectures about K's, CX, how to write AFFs, CPs, and debate strategy are very helpful to understand how to debate better. Advice given from the camp staff really helps you improve while you're at camp and even afterwards." "I was a student at MSDI 2016, I did 3 week CX camp and If I had to say one thing about MSDI it would be that this camp will change your life, and not just in the sense that you will learn a lot about debate you will make so many new friends and have the best experience of your life." "I had a great experience as MSDI. The staff are all great and fun to be around and I met a lot of really great people. Moreover, the lectures were great and I learned a lot. Between debating twice a day everyday and speech redoes almost every night, everybody improved a lot." "If you're looking for the extra step you need to further your debate experience, register for the MSDI debate camp!"
2015 "I loved my two weeks at MSDI, and I plan on returning." "This camp was intense at times but it created a successful precedent. I wish I could have stayed for the third week!" "MSDI is overall an amazing experience that taught me multiple different skills that helped me grow both as a debater and a person. I made so many amazing memories that inspired me to consider debate in college." "It was amazing. I did some calculations and 2 weeks of camp at MSDI equal to 172.8 days of debate class. It is worth it." "This camp is the best place to break past all the small mistakes you may be hung up on, and exponentially boost your skills." "MSDI was a really great and I learned so much. I feel like this is going to be a great season."
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 encourage students to focus primarily on debating the case and disadvantages in a line-by-line approach.
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 2-week camp, students may have 2 practice debates per day (starting from the 2nd day). A typical day also includes several speeches, and several of the camp discussions are reinforced with drills.
Although many 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. Recent camps have included students from Montana, Indiana, South Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and California. Please feel free to contact Dr. Eric Morris for follow up questions or clarification about the camp's philosophy.
Also, we will offer a discount of $50/student if 4+ students from the same school attend our 2-week policy debate camp, and if 8+ attend the discount becomes $100/student. For one week camps, we will reduce fees by $20 (4+ students) or $40 (8+ students) per person.
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.
You will still need to send 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
Dept of Communication, Craig 375
Missouri State University
901 S. National Ave
Springfield, MO 65897
Director's Cell: 417-496-7141
COM Department Office: 417-836-4423
Camp Email: MSDI@MissouriState.edu
Director's Email: EricMorris@MissouriState.edu
Asst Director's Email: HeatherWalters@MissouriState.edu .