The University of Louisville Malcolm X Debate Program engages in targeted recruitment of first generation, low-income, African American students; while not exclusive, this demographic is representative of the majority of our student base. As an intercollegiate policy debate program, our curriculum and research practices are geared towards this student population’s experiences as they relate to policy.
Participation in debate requires students to conduct a substantial amount of research, with each debater producing enough research to write a master’s thesis within a single season. The required volume of research increases the critical thinking and advocacy skills of any student who participates, but our program goes even further. We teach students to engage in social justice advocacy by providing them with the skills they need to challenge policy norms that so often disadvantage the communities from which they come.
The Malcolm X Debate Program invests in the whole student, not just in their competitive success. We are dedicated to helping students figure out their career goals, while making sure that they are on track to pursue those goals when they leave our program. Our Academic Success Plan (ASP) monitors students’ progress and proactively identifies challenges, allowing us to effectively obtain any needed resources. We also assist our students in pursuing additional opportunities. Our students have been awarded fellowships and funding to teach debate/professional development in China and Korea, and internships to participate in social justice research in the US. Several students have also been named as Fulbright Scholars.
We are reaching out to the larger community to ask for donations to help us sustain and grow this invaluable program. Our goals include increasing the number of full-time staff, which would allow us to increase the number of students we can serve. Any little bit helps and we would be forever grateful for those who decide to help further our mission to bring debate to underrepresented students!