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The CEDA Topic Process

The process for determining the CEDA topic takes place in two stages.

First, the Topic Selection Committee and community are surveyed to determine potential controversies that might be valuable to serve as the debate topic. The goal of this stage of the process is to develop papers that outline the 'problem areas' involved with a public policy controversy and provide some guidance as to how such a topic might develop. Open meetings will be held throughout the season at tournaments and conferences to allow discussion of potential controversies or problem areas.

The topic selection committee commissions a slate of controversy papers two years prior to each topic. These commissioned papers are designed only to ensure that the community has a range of options. Any member of the community may write a controversy paper. Guidelines to help authors develop these papers are now available. All controversy papers for the 2008-2009 season are due to the Committee chair by Saturday April 18, 2009. The CEDA constitution mandates, "By May 1 the committee will report to the Executive Secretary no fewer than three problem areas to be voted upon by the general membership. In early July the committee will report to the Executive Secretary no fewer than three resolutions corresponding to the winning topic area."

Second, one area is selected by a mail ballot of all CEDA member schools. The selected controversy is now researched with an interest in developing the possible specific propositions (or resolutions) for the coming season. The committee and community will both be invited to prepare such wording papers in advance of the CEDA summer business meetings.

All wording papers submitted to the topic chair by two weeks prior to the topic selection meeting and relating to the controversy selected by the community vote will be placed on the agenda for the summer meetings and, subject to a committee vote, placed on the topic wording ballot. All wording papers submitted by the deadline and meeting the above guidelines will be voted on by the committee. Completed and germane papers will be presumptively considered for the ballot.

The CEDA summer business meeting takes place in early summer and includes several days worth of deliberation on the wording choices. The location of the meeting is determined by the CEDA executive council after considering bids from host intuitions. The 2009 Topic Selection Meetings will be held in Winston-Salem, NC at Wake Forest University. The meetings will be part of the CEDA summer meetings and debate summit. The topic selection committee will meet from June 3-5.

The meeting agenda is set by the committee chair. The meetings are open to the entire community. The committee will work with CEDA leadership to provide information to the larger community including live blogging, webcasting (when possible) and public posting of notes. This site will be host for such posted information.

The Executive Secretary will distribute a formal topic selection ballot to all CEDA members in early July. The designated deadline must be no more than five days before the topic announcement date. The CEDA topic will be announced on the third Friday in July. When announcing election results, the Executive Secretary shall report the total number of ballots received and the vote totals for each topic wording.