Vince Woolums -- Iowa City High School

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Judging philosophy:


I debated for Iowa City High 1989-1993 on the prisons, space, and homelessness topics. Since 2009 I have rejoined the Iowa City High team as Director of Debate. I hold BA degrees in English and Political Science, and almost finished with a Masters in Business Administration. I follow foreign and domestic politics and policies closely. I own and operate a small business in Iowa City, work a full time project management job in the aerospace industry, and am a sometimes radio DJ at KRUI.fm spinning house, techno, and/or drum n bass.

Rounds are judged from a mix of tabula rasa, stock issues, policymaking, and games playing paradigms. You should ask me for clarification of this judge philosophy and ask any other questions before the round. Absent your questions I will assume that you have read and understood this philospophy.

In-round debate trumps any preconceived notions I have on theory, framework, and the topic in general provided you make your case or argument compelling. All things considered, I will render a decision on any well-developed argument but I personally prefer case debate, counterplans, and solvency mechanism debate over kritiks. This is policy debate, not LD, public forum, or philosophy class. It is my opinion that policy debate topics are framed to assist theoretical policymakers in making decisions critical to the future of the United States, which require a level of analysis geared toward solving problems, not rejecting them.

The basic requirements of a good debate round include but are not limited to: cogent link, internal link, and impact calculus debates, and quality debate on the nexus question and/or the overall Aff or Neg narrative. I'm fine with counterplans, kritiks, theory, and framework debates as long as you articulate the finer points of your argument in a way that makes sense without relying on debate jargon, and in a way that is audibly intelligible. That said, I don't prefer theory, framework, or kritik debates. For example, if you stand up in a 1NC, read an IR Fem shell, and then can't answer any questions about it in cross-ex, I'm not going to be impressed! If you are taking a theoretical or philosophical/critical approach to the topic, then you'd better be prepared to explain your position in clear, non-debate terms. Regurgitating debate jargon on complex academic topics that are (at best) tangential to substantive policy debates does not demonstrate to me that you grasp the underlying issues.

I'm fine with speed. I flow on a laptop. Generally, I'm okay with most things speech-related provided I can audibly differentiate your tags, cards, cites, and analytic arguments. The speech act, for all our outside the round research and preparations, is the purpose of debate. If I need you to speak more clearly, enunciate, slow down, or emphasize your tags, I will call out for it verbally in-round. I ask for politeness during cross ex, and require in-round decorum. I don't like when a team interferes with their opponents speech by requesting evidence, whispering to your teammate so loudly I can't hear the speaker, throwing tubs/expandos around, etc. If this is continually problematic your speaker points may suffer.

In closing, let me say that I really enjoy when a team collapses down to nexus question and provides a the most compelling narrative for my vote. If you tell the compelling story, using well-honed rhetorical devices and are persuasive in so doing, I will be very pleased!

Good luck to all.

Seasonal voting record:

TourneyDivRdAFF    NEG    Decision

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