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Evangel to launch debate team with fall 2013 semester

April 23, 2013 | Ian Richardson

Let the debating begin.

This fall, Evangel’s Communication Department will be launching a brand-new debate team under the instruction of Dr. Joy Qualls, assistant professor of communication.

The team will join Evangel’s speech team at forensics tournaments, and the department is encouraging students of all majors to get involved.

Qualls, a former college debater herself, says the skills gained through debate are useful for those of every calling.

 “We are all going to face those who disagree with us in our careers, our ministry and our personal relationships,” Qualls says. “Knowing how to engage them effectively is a skill that we all can use in our lives and careers.”

The parliamentary-style debate team will travel to tournaments alongside the speech team, which has competed nationally and globally under Dr. Mark Kelton, associate professor of communication and forensics adviser. Kelton and Qualls will now be working together as advisers of the forensics team, which encompasses both the speech and debate sections.

Qualls says students who are interested in participating should register for Intercollegiate Forensics, which is a one-credit workshop class, next semester. She says practice for debate competitions will include researching current events, reading academic literature, writing research summaries and engaging in mock debates.

Qualls encourages students to try both speech and debate.

The Communication Department will be offering debate scholarships just like those offered for forensics, Dr. Cameron Pace, Communication Department chairman, says. Pace says the department will release information on how to apply when the process is approved and put in place.

Qualls says that in forensics all universities compete at the same level, regardless of size. This means Evangel will have the opportunity to match up with not only other Christian universities, but also with large universities and Ivy-League colleges.

“This is the best part of the process for me,” Qualls says, “knowing our students will be able to go toe-to-toe with the best the academy has to offer.”

Jocelyn Cox, junior, is currently on Evangel’s speech team. She says she plans on joining the team next semester.

“I am wanting to join because I like to analyze and break down what people say and how they view certain things,” she says. “I’ve always been interested in debating, and I’m excited to hear more about what all it entails.”

Qualls also says she sees debate as a “mission field” where Christian students have the opportunity to share their worldview with others.

She says, “Our Christian colleges and universities have a unique opportunity to show their secular counterparts the love of Christ as well as thoughtful, respectful debate to some of the most pressing issues facing our world.”

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