By Kaleigh Tankersley, HPU junior
BROWNWOOD – November 25, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau (SSB), a speech and debate team, traveled to Oxford, England, recently to compete in the Oxford Inter-Varsity International Debate Tournament. Teams competing in the tournament follow the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) style, also known as British Parliamentary debate.
Two teams of HPU debaters traveled to Oxford – Jared Russell, a junior from Hillsboro, and Kaleigh Tankersley, a junior from Iraan; and Marcos Corley, a junior from Corpus Christi, and Catherine Mullaney, a senior from Boylston, Mass.
Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the communication department, professor of communication and SSB coach, said the students competed extremely well.
“Our two teams did outstanding,” said Dr. Welker. “In this format of debate, students have eight years of eligibility so our undergraduate students competed against law students and Ph.D. students from some of the top universities in the world.”
The team was also required to bring a judge for competition. Dorie Walton, a junior from Lolita and SSB team member, judged multiple rounds of competition.
“Judging is such a great way to really learn what wins a debate round,” said Dr. Welker. “I know this experience will make Dorie a much better debater. Plus, she got to judge with individuals from universities across the world.”
Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, also traveled with the team.
The two teams competed in five rounds of WUDC debate at the University of Oxford. The students debated five different motions and were given 15 minutes before each round to prepare.
“Collegiate debate builds excellent critical thinking skills,” said Dr. Welker. “Our team members have to be well-versed in a number of current event and world issues – we don’t just debate one issue or concept all year. The topics range from political to social to environmental issues, and students must be prepared for any topic in any round.”
The use of electronic material and coaching help is prohibited during prep time and during the debate.
The Oxford IV tournament is the largest WUDC tournament on the European circuit. The tournament consisted of teams from around the world, including other American teams as well as teams from the United Kingdom, Austria, Bangladesh, China, Australia and many other countries.
The HPU teams also enjoyed a tour of Oxford and a guided visit to the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. After the tournament, the team traveled to London for sightseeing. Students visited St. Paul’s Cathedral, Greenwich, The Globe Theatre, Kensington Palace and attended a theatre production.
Photo cutline: Members of HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently traveled to Oxford, England. Left to right: Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication; Marcos Corley, a junior from Corpus Christi; Catherine Mullaney, a senior from Boylston, Mass.; Dorie Walton, a junior from Lolita; Kaleigh Tankersley, a junior from Iraan; Jared Russell, a junior from Hillsboro; and Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the communication department, professor of communication and SSB coach.