The University of Minnesota competes in both two-person policy debate. The policy debate team has a dual regional and national focus, competing at tournaments in the upper Midwest and across the country. Policy debate places a great deal of emphasis on evidence and argument evaluation around a year-long topic
Students choose to participate in debate for a variety of reasons. Some are attracted to the competitive aspects of debate, finding themselves strongly motivated by the opportunity to test their skills and knowledge against opponents from some of the top universities in the United States. Other students find themselves enjoying the engaged learning model of a debate team, which involves close collaboration with faculty members in researching, preparing, and presenting arguments. The appeal of learning and debating about important public policy issues is also strong. Many students find their debate participation to be excellent training for graduate school and other career paths. The roster of successful former debaters includes prominent figures in politics (Bill Clinton, Barbara Jordan, George McGovern), law (Alan Dershowitz, Antonin Scalia, Laurence Tribe), journalism and broadcasting (Tom Brokaw, Jane Pauley, Oprah Winfrey), business (Lee Iacocca, Robert Rubin, Ted Turner), and global leadership roles (Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela). The research, organization, critical thinking, and presentation skills that you learn in debate will help you in many roles throughout your post-collegiate life.
Most importantly, students debate because it is fun—not only the joy to be found in victory, but the pleasures of working closely and traveling with a group of bright, dedicated, and politically engaged students.