Announcing: Drury Debate Union

img_3179I’m pleased to announce the establishment of the Drury Debate Union. Collegiate debate has been a longstanding point of pride for the Drury community. Drury’s first debate team was organized more than 80 years ago and many students and coaches have participated in hundreds of local, national, and international debate tournaments. Now, after a brief transitional period, and under new directors, debate returns to Drury for the 2015-2016 school year.

Students interested in participating, or in finding out more information, should plan to attend one of several informational meetings in beginning of the fall semester. These meetings will be run by the debate union’s Director, Dr. Charles Deberry, and Assistant Director, Dr. Craig Titus.

In the meantime, those interested in finding out more information should turn to the Debate Union website. This site will be updated regularly in the coming weeks.

We strive to welcome and include something for all students who wish to participate regardless of major or any former debate experience.  The Drury Debate Union is comprised of four components, and you can participate in the one(s) you like best:

Competitive Debate | Round Table Formats | Debate Institutes | Public Forum Debates

Competitive Debate

Academic, competitive debating in the United States has, from about the 1960’s or 70’s until today, morphed into various divisions of fairly unusual activities.  Many have questioned it’s value because it has increasingly diminished the importance of communication skills.  

People who have been unhappy with these developments have started new organizations for competitive debate which, to varying degrees, return the concept of debate to what it was from the ancient Greeks and Romans up through the 1960s in the United States.  These new organizations follow what is labeled a British parliamentary format.  The affirmative team is called The House or the government and the negative team is called The Opposition.  Their emphasis is on being informed citizens and communicating effectively.

Our goal at Drury is to become an active and highly respected participant in these organizations.  We will begin by participating in a few tournaments regionally and nationally.  Then, as we grow, we plan to explore the possibilities of attending one or more international tournaments.


The Round Table Format

A round table format is designed to use debate skills in a more informal discussion.  They are about a half an hour long.  Four to six students serve as the panel, there is a facilitator/moderator to keep the discussion on topic and organized.  These discussions are podcast as frequently as they can be produced and will be available on the Drury website.

These round table podcasts are a significant and valuable aspect of the new Drury Debate Union for three reasons:

First, they exhibit Drury students and faculty engaged in a relaxed, informal setting, discussing interesting and timely topics.  The program showcases each debater before the discussion begins.  We learn about you.  It also provides an opportunity to talk about other things going on in the Debate Union and acknowledge our gratitude for the generous gifts from donors which make the Drury Debate Union possible.

Secondly, other universities who have done this find that people like to watch these discussions. This could include students, friends, families, alumni, and prospective employers.  This helps showcase your skills and the Drury experience.

Finally, the round table format brings students into the debate union from all corners of the campus- students who are perhaps not interested or do not have time for competitive debate. Business students can discuss business issues; Criminal Justice students can discuss crime and punishment; pre-med students and students from Religion and Philosophy can discuss assisted suicide. The possibilities are endless. All these students will benefit from learning debating skills and it will give them a chance to practice them.


Public Forum Debates

Public forum debates are designed to involve members of the community.  It provides citizens with the opportunity to participate, listen, and learn about important local issues.


Debate Institutes

Debate institutes provide training and education for middle school and high school students in the region by providing Summer programs. These institutes will not only help prepare middle school and high school students for debating at their local levels but will also bring students to the Drury campus and introduce them to the programs at Drury. We are also working on other ways our members can reach out to area schools.

Please direct any inquires to the Debate Union faculty:

Dr. Charles Deberry (

Dr. Craig Titus (