Five strong reasons to consider joining Iowa Debate are listed below. More information regarding coaches, debaters, recent results, and the team's upcoming travel schedule are listed in greater detail in the accompanying links. 

team 2020

History and Mission

The A. Craig Baird Debate Forum is the oldest student group on campus. Started in 1860, the team’s foundation pre-dates the beginning of the Civil War. Our debate team is proud to continue a legacy of over 150 years of promoting critical thought, public dialogue, and the creation of a more just world for all people. In its modern form, the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum trains students to compete in intercollegiate policy debate competitions, hosts public debates, maintains a prominent Speaker Series, and helps promote debate all over the world. The team is guided by its motto, side of truth.

Record of Success

Iowa welcomed the turn of the century by winning the 2001 National Debate Tournament (NDT). The team also accomplished the rare feat of boasting a Top Speaker award winner, given to the nation's top individual debater, and a Copeland Award winner, given to the top-ranked team. Since Dr. Dave’s arrival to the A. Craig Debate Forum, 48 teams from the University of Iowa have qualified for the NDT. Of those, almost half (23) have competed in the elimination rounds. Ten students have earned Top 10 speaker awards.

The team recently made history by taking both First and Second place at the 2018 Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Championship. As a team, Iowa finished 5th in Varsity NDT 2017-2018 Standings, a result reflecting a major tournament victory at UMKC, an appearance in the finals of Cal-Berkeley, and advancing to the elimination rounds of every major national tournament. Individual students won Top Speaker at two tournaments and placed in the top ten of four major national tournaments (Wake, Cal, Texas, and CEDA). 

Premiere Public Institution

In addition to boasting one of the best debate programs in the country, the University of Iowa is one of the nation’s premier public institutions. Iowa has 24 programs among the Top 25 of the U.S. News and World Report rankings, and it consistently ranks among the top 35 public institutions in the country. It has been named a Fiske Guide to Colleges Best Buy for 12 consecutive years. The University offers over 200 majors, minors, certificates, and tracks while boasting over 500 student organizations. 93% of Iowa students find jobs or graduate work within six months of graduation.

Outstanding Alumni

Graduates of the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum have earned scholarships to several prestigious law schools, including those at Harvard, Iowa, NYU, Columbia and Virginia. Recent graduates have included a Rhodes Scholar, a Truman Fellow, and an Udall scholar. Debaters have matriculated to the University of Chicago MBA program, the University of Iowa Ph. D. program, and several other advanced-degree programs. The A. Craig Baird Debate Forum’s proudest accomplishment is the 100% graduation rate of its students in the 21st century.

Top Five College Town

Iowa City was named one of the top five college towns in the country by the American Institute for Economic Research due to its strong artistic character, low unemployment rate, and diverse population. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Iowa City its second City of Literature, the only city in America to earn that designation. The Iowa Writers Workshop has helped build the most literary city on the planet by providing a nursery for six U.S. Poets Laureates, including current U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Wright, and the recipients of over 40 Pulitzer Prizes.

Join the Team

We will have members present at almost every national college and high school debate competitions in the first semester. Prospective PhD canidates should contact Director of Debate Dr. David Hingstman at david-hingstman@uiowa.edu. High school debaters should contact Debate Coach Tyler Snelling at tyler-snelling@uiowa.edu. We would love to discuss your future with the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum. Apply here!