Minutes of the National Meetings - 2009


Minutes of the Executive Council

November 11, 2009

12-3:45 p.m.

Cresthill Room, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago

Call to order at: 12:05 PM by Daniel Cronn-Mills


Noted that Jim Pratt should be congratulated on getting things so conveniently located. Called for additional agenda items.

  • I. Historian, Jerry Sanders

Notes on attempts to raise money. Reports that $575 have been added and an additional $750 organizational line item.  The Research Committee should begin to put together guidelines on how to grant the money to do research on the AFA.  These funds should encourage people to use the archives for research and promote the history of the organization.  This is important since older organizations need periodically to go back and find direction.

Asks that the National Council will encourage the Research Committee to develop guidelines.

Chair of the Research Committee notes that they have developed the guidelines that create guidelines for the Brockreide grant that would give up to $1000 for research proposals dealing with the study of argumentation.  It will be awarded every two years and the money can be rolled over to the next period.

The archival research grant remains open---since there is not a specified amount.

Pratt notes that it is $750 and could be marginally higher.

Research Chair: The other element of the archival grant was to note that it was revolving and that people could apply at any time.  That way, people do not need to plan over a year in advance.

Dan Cronn-Mills: who needs to approve it.

Pratt: the committee submits and the Council approves.

            Dan Cronn-Mills: Can people ask for both?

            Research Chair (Jim): Yes, nothing prevents it.  There is a worksheet that will walk people through the process.

Kate Palczewski: noted that the grant required that the data be presented at an AFA conference.  She also noted that the by-laws would need to be changed so that the Research Committee was in charge of the archive grant-these are the Committee bylaws.

There was a short discussion of the ways that committees are free to change their own bylaws.  There was some sense that the National Council would approve the changes.

Carol: What is not required is that the results would be included in the archives. It would seem that it would be useful to have a repository of the material to be included into the archives. This is a friendly amendment.

  • II. Professional Development and Support Committee
    Were not present.

Anticipated that there would be some action on a promotion and tenure document which has been approved by the NDT Board of Trustees.

Dave (chair): Approved the code of conduct. Will be giving two service awards:

Ross Smith, Wake Forest

M'Liss Hindman Tyler Jr. College

Sandra Day O'Connor will be the Speaker of the Year.  She will be acknowledged for her work with Southern California Law initiative.

Finance Committee

Jim Pratt: The Committee met and approved the proposed budget.  It is basically the same as last year.  However, $5k has been moved from the debate conference to an IE conference.  There is nothing unusual in the reports.  The news is good---there is a net worth of $180K.

  • III. Argumentation and Advocacy

Dale Hample, editor: Last year things were not good, only one issue a year was produced.  Since then, there have been 5 mailed out and there are two more that are going to mailed out in the next few weeks. One has been printed.  The other one has page proofs and it should be done in 2 weeks.

There is a campaign issue by Holihan and a Knox College conference product on Lincoln-Douglas debates.  It will be edited by James Klumpp and David Zarefsky.

Also, has commissioned a special issue on the Perelman conference.  However, there are potential problems with producing manuscripts.  Likely, there will be one of two competitive issues to put out. However, there is a shortage of manuscripts.

Problems from last  year have not gone away.  There are problems with timely reviews---about 25% just fail to produce them.  This produces embarrassing turn-around times.  Usually, they take 3-4 months---but some have taken a year.

The more systematic problem has to do with submissions.  There are less than 30 a year.  If there are only competitive issues---with 3-4 articles per issue---there are 12-15 articles accepted---which is a 50% acceptance rate.  Only 30% of R&Rs return. Some revisions take more than a year. In one case, with minor revisions, it took more than a year and half to fix it.  However, there is not enough inventory to publish a largely competitive journal.  AT the end of the term, less than half of the issues will be special issues.

One reason is that there is much more competition---ALTA, ISSA and the Ontario Conference.  Also, there is ARGUMENTATION.  Twenty years ago none of these things were on the horizon.  As a community we need to think of ways to generate more articles. 

Tried to work out something with Denis Gouran on the ALTA conference, but it did not work. There are not substantial revisions of ALTA papers submitted. Perhaps we need to be more systematic for the 2011 conference.

DCM: Does ALTA bar submission?

When the knocked down the page limit-to 9000 words--it was so that they could publish a short statement and then develop a paper.  It is did not happen the way it was intended.  ISSA sometimes invites paper for their journal. 

Palczewski: In the past, there was an issue published with ALTA papers.

Carol Winkler: Will meet with ALTA this afternoon and examine the issue.   Will the journal by Pittsburgh hurt the situation. 

D.Hample: it is more debate orientated. They will argue, but not analyzing the arguments.  It will be a policy journal and there will be little overlap.

W. Baker: is there a systematic way of getting people at the conferences and in the organization to follow up with the journal.  With more outreach, there may be a way of getting more and greater quality submissions.

D.Hample: since the journal is not applied forensics, most convention papers would not be that helpful.  However, it might be nice to have an outline of possible publication outlets for papers that goes along with the acceptance letter than AFA sends out.   People who are writing A&A writing stuff are pretty much aware.

DCM: It might be good to get the people in the Argumentation and Forensics division portion of NCA as well.

D.Hample: if we send a template letter, they just might use it.

Jerry: as far as a list of places to publish---there is some stuff with the National Conference in debate. Is there something that we can do to get people to do the work of an associate editor.

D.Hample: it is hard to manage the associate editors.  We move people in by their responsibility. However, it has not been a big deal. While it takes a while for me to process the information, it is not long.  I have made attempts to get things going very quickly.

SCoucher: at Bowling Green we have had to rank all of the journals and A&A has been ranked low (third tier).  Perhaps this is an issue with follow-through.  If it was a greater journal, perhaps it had more prestige.  Perhaps there should be some sort of PR move to get things going.

DCM: Is the ranking just a perception or is it linked to knowledge.  One of the glitches is that there are not that many tenure track forensics jobs so that they do not publish.  Consequently, there may not be that much stuff.

J.Sanders: In the past, the VP was the person in charge of PR and publicity for the organization.  We had people who would advocate with the libraries to acquire the journal. Without advocacy---journals just get dropped.

J.Pratt: Subscriptions are very stable. It is very unusual for libraries to drop a subscription.  Of course, they do not pay until they get the journals---so we are behind. 50 are up to date and there are 440 possible journals.  

D.Hample: This is the benefit of being inexpensive.

C.Winkler: Dale has improved the journal which is an attempt to improve the quality of the journal and its inclusion of people outside the membership.

D.Hample: The series on arguing in other languages has been very successful.  While envisioning one an issue, you could use them to understand the ways that different language systems work.   There is an interesting intercultural element for this material.

DCM: There is a spiral of lack of visibility and subscriptions.  If we catch up with a good date---then many problems might be solved.

  • IV. Publications Committee

S.Coucher: Congratulated Dale Hample and talked about his frustrations with the issue.  Talked about the quality of electronic scans in EBSCO where the journal is rather poor looking-many appear to have large creases when they are scanned in. Other journals do not seem to have this problem.

A&A before 1995 is not online in full text. It would be good if they were there. While they are available at the University of Minnesota, they would do better with EBSCO.

Notes Gordon Mitchell's Timely Interventions online journal.  The Committee voted to support it.

DCM: They developed it and then sought support from the AFA. There was a publisher and then suggested that the AFA become a co-sponsor to prevent the AFA from controlling what it does.  They are not asking for funding or support.  It is possible to support the journal without violating the bylaws.

SC: Agreed that it would not compete with A&A.

Collaborate C0-Authorship was the second issue.  Were unclear whether it was just for TI or for all AFA journals.  It was agreed to as part of TI.

Jim (Research Committee, Chair): While co-authorship is important.  However, it does not address issues where cooperation is not equal between all of the members.

K.Palciewski: We should examine this closer and work in some sense of hierarchical relationships, some questions about how these things get approved.  Next year might be a good time to take a vote on this issue.  It is endorsed in principle, but it might not be in a complete form. Given the NDCD work, what should the AFA says about the guidelines regarding what it means to be a author, or to be a fifth author.

D.Hample: Are journal editors supposed to enforce all of this?  How would they know who was involved? While it is a nice description of how workgroups produce collaborative products, for some empirical work, this is oddly phrased. There is no distinction between the types of ideas (method, analysis, etc.). It is odd that there is no mention of the types of work that people do. There should probably be thought out.

R.Edwards: As an organization, when there are standards, you assume that they will enforce them.  This seems unenforceable.  Each institution has its own ideas of where co-authorship stands.  Not sure that you can change these types of institutional or discipline specific standards.

Jim (Research): Given the push, there is a drive for more scholarship---and that one of the ways to handle this type of problem (research and practice) is to increase joint scholarship. Will this cut people who are in a program out.

K.Palciewski: Graduate students probably need some guidance about how to have people know that this is the sort of thing that people talk about---and that knowing the order and making it overt is good. In some instance, it has been the tradition for the senior faculty to go first. However, this is controversial.  Having a conversation is helpful to clear up things that are not clear.

DCM: We support the principle, will pursue additional information from the committees and support that TI can use this.  These decisions will need to be made clear and published in a normal way.

S.Coucher: It should be an open idea that everyone has access to. It should be put into a vote of the organization rather than a simple piece of legislation.

S.Coucher:   Will stay as the chair next year.

DCM: Any further nominations. There are two nominees and both are from UNI. K. Palciewski and J.Fritch.

K.Palciewski: We plan to work together and have served on the editorial board as loyal members. Have served under multiple editors, active at ALTA, NCA and have started to brainstorm special issues and how to get people to submit essays.

Jim: nominates.

C.Winker: seconds

Vote is unanimous.

  • V. Nominating Committee

A slate was distributed.

  • VI. Professional Education and Development Committee

DCM: They were looking at the code.  Over time, debate has its own standards and IE has their standards.  The two have different standards.  This has been reviewed by both communities with few questions.

There is a new section for conduct to prevent a CEDA like event. Mostly it was a small number of corrections, the split of debate and I.E..  There is also an addition of a code of conduct---which is necessary since there was no way to respond.

It has been approved by both the NDT and NIET groups.  Notes that things were quiet. Last year there were summits with tournament directors and others to hammer out a common consensus.

  • VII. Research Committee

Jim: Most was covered in the archives and co-authorship.

Rohrer Award: no nominations this year.  There were some attempts to work through the journals---but still did not feel that we could make a fair evaluation.   We can take 2008 nominations for next year in the 2009 year.  Call for the community to make more nominations.

Dissertation/Thesis Award: there were good.  The winner is Crystal Lane-Swift, This House We Ethically Engage.

Out of National Developmental Conference on Debate there was a call for a report on innovative research.  Thinking that it would appear in the annual report was not a good way.  In addition to the annual report that there be an AFA website link that would link up with opportunities for scholarship and that this gets distributed on the webservers for debate and IE and that the NDT and NIET include a short statement in their packet.

The link will include calls for journals, conferences and grants.  Also, it would be a clearinghouse for ideas.

C.Winkler: if we include a call on journals. It might also be helpful to sell our products---explaining what it is and why it is desirable.

Jim: we also wanted to push some of the smaller journals t boost the quality for everyone. Does not want to say that some journals are better than others.

Jim noted that he will continue as the Chair.

  • VIII. President's Report

ALTA wants someone to serve as a liaison. C.Winkler is willing to continue in this regard.

  • a. Revised Tournament Code

NDT committee already supports it.  The NIET might.

  • b. Debate Summer Conference

Things are coming out of it.  Unclear if there will be on in 2011.

  • c. IE Summer Conference

It will be in Minneapolis in early August.  The conference will focus on assessment and help to develop profiles and guidelines for the community.

  • d. Alta Conference

C.Winker: Scott Jacobs, Concerning Argument, from the previous ALTA conference,  is coming out soon. AFA is the exclusive marketer of this. D.Gouran ran the conference last summer and it was well done. The next conference director will be R.Roland.

  • IX. Past President's Report

C.Winker: Following on an assessment report.  What has happened as a result of urban debate data is that the Federal Government has found debate after some public housing programs.  Now, there is a technical assistance foundation to help give support to debate.  The Department of Justice and gang prevention has been an area of interest.

X.  Vice President's Report

R.Edwards: The call for papers is similar to ones in the past.  The convention theme is "Building Bridges." Submissions for this year-there were 16 slots and 17 submissions.  However, there was one more accepted than there was space for but they took mercy.  One of the panels has disappeared in the early registration requirement.  Of the individual papers, there were 3 student papers, 5 others were submitted and 3 were accepted.  That leaves 15 panels and a spot for CEDA.

C.Winker: Did the CEDA slot conflict with other stuff. 

R.Edwards: No, the CEDA business is not on Wednesday and now is competitive. Had planned to go to the planning meeting, but will attend the AFA meeting instead.

  • X. Two-Year College Report

Not present.

High School Affairs

            W. Baker: Notes a disconnect between what is available and what people know about.  People seem to be very interested in demos and examples.  They would also like to have connection with college students to see what forensics can do for them.  There were three objectives.

a. Building bridges.  People like the AFA and want to have a connection.  People know what it is and they want templates of how you work with people so that they can ask the right questions and know who to ask then of.  Knowing the types of relations is useful.

b. becoming aware of the connections between classrooms and college programs.  There are many programs trying to get forensics going.

c. people outside of the AFA note a good bit of what people do.  There is a 2009 study in student accomplishment in the Journal of Negro Education.  This stuff is available in Louisville and Boston.  Another Johns Hopkins study shows that debate and other forms of topical discussion had positive outcomes.  People are interested who did not previously come from this background.

Steps suggested:

  • a. Coming up with a more refined social media plan. AFA does not use social media.
  • b. Expanding research into the connection. It would not be expensive and it would be pretty easy.
  • c. Contact the 2009 research participants and discuss ways that we can expand interaction.

It is an interesting process and it is interesting that we may not see the way that people function.

  • XI. Executive Secretary

J.Pratt: Things are smooth and library subscriptions are behind because the journal is behind.  Excited to have a new website.  Most excited about the fact that we can have a membership directory as part of the website. It will include whatever information people provide.


Meeting was adjourned at 2:05.


Minutes of the AFA National Business Meeting

November 11, 2009, 4-7  p.m.

Crystal Room, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago

  1. Call to Order.

Dan Cronn-Mills called the meeting to order at 4:04 PM.  Noted a couple of small changes to the agenda.

  1. Approval of Agenda

It was approved.

  1. Appointment of Parliamentarian

D.Brasher agrees to serve

  1. Approval of Minutes

Jolene Edwards is Jo Ann Edwards

"No additions" for "not additions"

Minutes are approved

  1. Reports of Officers and National Council Members
  • 1. Historian - Jerry Sanders

The archives are at the University of Utah.  The National Council has offered some money for research regarding the archives. If you know of any old artifacts related to the AFA, email gsanders@one.net.

  • 2. Vice President for High School Affairs - Will Baker, New York University

There is now a unique opportunity for outreach. People are looking for bridges, support, and seeking mutually beneficial opportunities.

  • 3. President - Dan Cronn-Mills, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Announces that there are new editors for Argumentation and Advocacy.  Cate Palczewski and John Fritch from the University of Northern Iowa have agreed to serve.  The AFA representative to the ALTA conference will be Carol Winkler.  Robin Roland will be leading the next ALTA conference.  In light of recent events, forensics organizations have come together to try to develop a revised code of professional practice.

The summer debate conference at Wake Forest was a success.  Al Louden deserves special praise.

August 7-8 will be the Individual Events conference focused on assessment.  The hope is that the debate community will also be able to follow.  If we make the claim we are co-curricular, we should have some evidence that we are.

Thanks to Al Louden, there is a new AFA website.  There are some small changes that will be made---but it looks good.

  • 4. Vice President - Rich Edwards, Baylor University

The next year's convention theme is Building Bridges.  Thanks Dan for his hard and organized work.

The VP's role is to put together the Call for next year.  This year we have 16 great panels. One disappeared during the early registration process.   8 or 9 individual papers.

  • 5. Two-Year College Representative - M'Liss Hindman, Tyler Jr. College

No Report

  • 6. Executive Secretary - James W. Pratt, University of Wisconsin, River Falls

118K is the net worth of the organization. 

  • I. Committee Reports

Educational Development and Practices - Ben Voth, Miami University

Reviewed two petitions.  Accepted one and declined the other.  Most discussions dealt with the AFA code of conduct charges. The Committee did endorse the code, but with some reservations.  There is some vagueness that might lead to abuse by some members---such as the call to belittling language. There are some modifications of Art.7, Part 12 which deals with penalties.  They ask that where the language says "these will..."  be changed to "these may...." This will give the committee more leeway in choosing the penalty. 

There should be another penalty added, which is that the Committee could send a letter to a participant who violated the code. The Committee is looking for graduated sanctions.

M.Coach will be the new chair.

Finance - Lee Mayfield, JMU

Move to accept the proposed budget.

The motion is seconded and accepted.

Professional Development and Support - David Gaer, Laramie County Community College

Took a look at tenure and promotion document and gave  an endorsement.  Would like the I.E. tenure and promotion document approved in the same way.

Votes to recommend the Code of Conduct.

His year's Service Awards go to  Ross Smith, Wake Forest University for the service award and M'Liss Hindman, Tyler Community College

The Speaker of the Year will be Sandra Day O'Connor who has been working to support human and equal rights.

Publications - Stephen Croucher, Bowling Green State University

Talked about the quality of on-line scanning and about having pre-1995 articles included in the full-text EBSCO.

Gordon Mitchell brought forward a proposal for AFA recognition of Timely Interventions, an on-line journal.  The Publications Committee voted to support the journal that builds on debate-oriented research. It has been determined to be consonant with Argumentation and Advocacy.

The Publications Committee also  looked at cooperative scholarship guidelines.  In the meeting they voted to support it.  However, in the National Council, additional questions arose concerning the scope of the suggestion.   The Research Committee did not vote to support the criteria.

S.Croucher will serve one more year as chair.

Argumentation & Advocacy - Dale Hample

Five issues have been published since last year.  The goal is to have the cover date of the journal match the actual publication date.  There are four issues yet to produce.  Two or three will be special issues, including one on elections and one on the Lincoln-Douglas debates.  The third one is a potential Perelman edition by European authors, but it might not come to pass.  Of the one additional edition, one article has been accepted.

In 2009 there were 24 manuscripts and in 2008 there were 28.  A competitive journal would need many more. With so many Revise and Resubmits disappearing, it is very hard.  Historically, most editions were competitive, but it seems no longer possible. This represents a change in the ways that the journal is constructed.

The current acceptance rate is 24%. The problem is not that we are being unreasonable restrictive.

Research - James Dimock, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Sought to develop procedures for grants.  Also developed language for the Brockriede grant. Both drafts are complete and will be forwarded. 

Examined the co-authorship issue.  While the spirit of the document was not objectionable, especially in light of the developmental conference rationale, it did not deal  with co-authorship where people are in an asymmetric relationship. We want to create a document that is a starting point for conversations rather than its ending point. The goal is to have students understand what they need to know before they start a research project.  Ask that new language be developed for next year.

Examined the idea of a report on innovation in scholarship.  If people know where they can publish, there will be more of it. An annual report seems insufficient.  Instead, the committee should publicize the report broadly through the forensics community.  It should include calls for articles, grants, conferences and potential areas of research.

Dissertation Award goes to Crystal Lane-Swift for her research on the NPDA.

Rohrer Award did not have any nominees.  The committee felt that there were very good articles in argumentation for 2008, but did not select one for the award.  To have selected one in this way would be insufficient to cover the breadth of all the work.  Will continue to accept nominations for both the 2008 and 2009 award.

Nominating Committee:

The nominations were read.  Asked for nominations from the floor. There were none.

The ballot should be changed so that Christina Whalen is from the City College of San Francisco.

The slate was accepted.

NIET Committee - Frank Thompson, University of Alabama

Nationals was at U. Akron in 2009.  It included 82 schools and 1500 slots.  U. Wisconsin Eu-Claire will host  in 2010 and the University of Nebraska at Pawnee in 2011.  Looking for 2012 and 2013. 

Developmental Conference should be supported with $1000 from the NIET.

Distinguished Service Awards were won by: Lee Mayfield (JMU) and Leah White (U. Minnesota-Mankato).

There will be three new Outstanding Coach Awards.

One  NIET research proposal that was supported looking at pairing effects of panels which will help to quantify what people suspect to be the case.

NDT Committee - Tim O'Donnell, Mary Washington College

Kansas defeated Wake Forest at the 2009 NDT.  2010 will be at UC Berkeley. 2011 is at UT-Dallas.  Express thanks to R. Rowland and A.Louden for their leadership regarding the Developmental Conference. 

  1. Old Business

There was no old business

  1. New Business

Proposed Revision to "Code of Forensics Program and Forensic Tournament Standards for Colleges and Universities"

Notes the desire to change the wills to may and a friendly amendment by the NIET regarding web-page citations.  Also, one typographical error  on Article V which should read Article VI. 

Q: including the amendment on personal letters.

A: Yes.

Q: "Will to may"---which are to change?

A: Just in Art 7.12.

Q: It seems very strange that this only kicks in if they were guilty-but in 12A, it seems that the action of the committee will be published in the newsletter.  If there is a guilty finding, then this seems reasonable. If so, then there should be some mention to the institution involved.

A: The committee desired some latitude.

S.Croucher  If it is a punishment---then there should be little leeway.

C.Winkler: The issue of demeaning language is quite general-so there should be leeway.

--: Leeway is good.

G. Stables: the CEDA document has the "may" language.  Since the forensics community has abdicated the role of enforcement---and you have people who are new to the community--- private letters may be the most appropriate.  In the case of graduate students, it might be better to have a range of punishments.

--: Perhaps they should have some aversion to "one or more of the following"...

"found guilty of conduct will, at the option of the Committee, enforce one or more of the following options

How about parallel language with Section 8: instead of "tournament director" use the Committee.

Seconded and parallel language passes.

RE: Adding a personal letter of reprimand.

Motion passes.

RE: NIET and the web page citations.

Motion passes

Motion to accept, with revisions, changes to the code.

Motion passes.

J.Fritch argues that there should be some sort of public accountability in the form of a committee report.

    1. Resolution on tenure document for debate coaches

Motion to approve

Motion passes

Resolution for AFA to endorse guidelines for collaborative co-authorship in forensics scholarship

Approved for just Timely Interventions and reviewed for the other journals.

Moved and passed

    1. Resolution: AFA Research Committee shall annually develop and circulate an updated list of opportunities for innovative forensics scholarship

J.Dimock and C.Palczewski offer the following wording:

RESOLVED that the AFA Research Committee shall identify opportunities (e.g. publication outlets, conferences, and grant opportunities) for forensics scholarship, especially innovative avenues of scholarship and points of intersection with issues of public concern, Additionally the Research Committee will generate a list of research ideas and topic. This information will be updated semiannually and sent out on the appropriate list serves and made available on the AFA webpage and other appropriate websites, the annual report, and distributed at the AFA-NIET and NDT

Resolution: AFA to co-sponsor Timely Interventions: A Translational Journal of Public Policy Debate



Gordon Stables - efforts to reorganize debate governance.

It is important that debate organizations be pro-active.   One important question has to do with the ways that the AFA has governed debate.  The AFA and the NDT do a good job of keeping the organization fiscally sound.  The code is the center of actual practice, but it does not do an especially good job.  Over the summer, we discussed the idea of whether this organization should try to charter and organization that governs debate during the regular season rather than just the national championships.

In a world with interest from the outside, what represents our world or tries to look forward is increasingly important.  Without a centralized organization, there is a lack of effectiveness.  The governance committee has called for the AFA to try to govern debate and become part of its public face. 

ADA, NDT, CEDA and others are being approached in addition to the high school community. One of the goals is to create a world that has a funded executive director, like the NAUDL. Requests a representative of the AFA to help.

Q: what is the relationship between AFA and the new organization. 

A: It would be like the NDT committee---charged by this body to govern debate.

Other Business:

D. Hample: Gerry Sanders has been with the organization since 1948.  Perhaps the Distinguished Service Award should have his name.  Also, the archive grant can have his name as well.

  1. Resolutions

There were none.

  1. Adjournment (to the AFA Reception in the Wabash Room)

Adjourned at 5:32.