Friday, August 10, 2007

missing the 'involvement fair'... NOT

Every year I was a debate coach at BN state, I had to represent the team and try to recruit debaters at the 'involvement fair'.

It was always required of student organizations and always a waste of time. It was scheduled for the first week of school and took about 3 hours --- just what you want to try to organize/staff (around my classes)/ do in the first week.

The 'involvement fair' model works great for the Spanish club or the Asian Students Association. It is also a fantastic forum for any sports team, Greek organization or honor society. It sucks for debate.

The thing is, if they come for the free popcorn and punch, they aren't looking for an activity that requires a lot of hard work and travel. They are looking for something to do in their down time, not an academic activity significantly more challenging than their classes in which they'll be competing against the top students from 4-year schools.

Sure, they say they are interested -- they may even show up at a meeting... but I never counted on the involvement fair recruits to be anything more than a number-plumper (i.e I could say that 15 students were 'involved' in debate, when only 4 or 6 actually competed...).

In a more broad sense, it is very nice not to worry about recruiting more debaters or training new debaters. Having my last teams be D2 & D3, Swear Jar & Sunshine is just fine by me...

The idea that I get to just teach philosophy and manage faculty is really beginning to sink in. I don't have to plan a debate travel schedule, make a budget, make reservations or worry about who is going to be ready for the first tournament of the semester. Getting to teach ethical theory and logic instead of topicality and disads is an amazing thought.... gee, getting to teach only what my graduate education prepared me to do -- what an f-ing shock!


julie said...

You deserve this work - especially because your debate coaching was NOT appreciated at our college: there's almost NO recognition of what it takes to be a faculty member who engages with students outside the classroom in some form, as a debate coach or club advisor. Our college is truly messed up in this area.

So who's going to be the debate coach??

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Aaron will be taking over this year, for one year and they'll be doing a search.