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NSDA/NFHS Policy Debate Topic Fellowship

The National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) is proud to partner with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to support an increase in diversity in the Policy Debate selection process. In order to have topics that best reflect the evolving needs of our diverse membership, we are committed to increasing the diversity of representation in the Policy Debate selection process. To that end, we have created two two-year Policy Debate topic fellowships to assist.

From Aug 1 – 4, 2024 in Des Moines, Iowa, the two fellows will participate in the NFHS Policy Debate Topic Selection Meeting to learn more about the topic selection process. During the fall of the 2024 school year, the two fellows will write Policy Debate topic papers. In August of 2025, the two fellows will present and advocate for their Policy Debate topics. These fellows will be eligible to serve on the NFHS Wording Committee. Applications are due April 1, 2024, and applicants will be notified of their status by May 1, 2024.

Eligibility

  • Be excited to participate in the Policy Debate topic writing and topic selection process
  • Actively coach Policy Debate at the high school level for at least two previous school years
  • Demonstrate a commitment to working with historically underserved or underprivileged students
  • Be committed to participation in 2024 and 2025 Policy Debate topic selection process, including submitting a topic for consideration at the 2025 selection process
  • Complete the authorship process on time and meet all deadlines
  • Be active NSDA coach members (preferred)
  • Have demonstrated experience or interest in debate topic selection processes (preferred)

Expectations

Year 1:
Year 2:
  • Write a topic paper in accordance with NFHS guidelines and deadlines. Review 2024 deadlines for a sense of what the process entails.
  • Attend office hours to receive support, make adjustments to the topic paper based on feedback, and submit drafts of the paper to reviewers.
  • Attend the NFHS Policy Debate Topic Selection Meeting (location TBD), present the paper, and advocate for their topic.

Compensation

Year 1, fellows will receive:
  • Travel honorarium to the NFHS Policy Debate selection process of up to $600
  • 2-3 nights of lodging at the NFHS Policy Debate selection hotel
  • Meal per diem of up to $50 per day for the selection process
  • $250 annual honorarium
  • A writing stipend of $400 to compensate their preparation for writing a topic paper the following year
Year 2, fellows will receive:
  • Travel honorarium to the NFHS Policy Debate selection process of up to $600
  • 2-3 nights of lodging at the NFHS Policy Debate selection hotel
  • Meal per diem of up to $50 per day for the selection process
  • $250 annual honorarium
  • Base writing stipend of $250 with additional financial incentives for completing work on-time and attending meetings. A topic paper writer can earn up to $750 if they fully participate in the process.
Subsequent years, if a fellow continues to write a Policy Debate topic paper, the NFHS will award them a $400 writing stipend.