GDI Program Descriptions


5 Week Zag Scholars Policy Program (June 23 – July 27)

The Scholars Program is an advanced lab designed for students looking for a more indepth and comprehensive experience. Launched in 2001 the Scholars lab was designed to provide a top tier lab experience to a small group of talented and motivated varsity students. We offer a top lab experience taught by a faculty who are among the most respected and successful college coaches and debaters in the nation. Your lab will also be the tip of the spear for our argument development and research production. Here are some highlights of the Scholars experience:

  • The Faculty. The Scholars will be taught by Adrienne Brovero and Sarah Lundeen. Coach Brovero is the Director of Debate at the University of Mary Washington and one of the most respected judges and coaches in the nation. While an assistant coach at Northwestern her teams won multiple national championships. As a college debater at Wake Forest she won a Copeland Award, 3 first rounds bids to the NDT, and was in the the Semi Finals of the NDT.  Coach Lundeen is the longtime Assistant Dirctor at the University of West Georgia. She has coached some very successful teams throughout her career and as an undergraduate won the CEDA National Championship….twice. For more information both these coaches please visit our faculty page.
  •  Dave Arnett, The Director of Debate at the University of Kentucky (and Director of the TOC) will be joining our 5 week programs for the final 3 weeks of camp. In addition to Directing the TOC, Professor Arnett is a one of the most successful college debate coaches of the last 25 years. 
  • A wonderful place to spend a few weeks. The GDI is hosted on the campus of Gonzaga University. We are a small private Jesuit college in Spokane, Washington. The campus is beautiful, the classrooms are state of the art, all within walking distance of parks, movie theatres, restaurants, and stores. We’ll definitely give you enough time off so you can explore some of your surroundings.
  • Our track record of success. This lab has a strong record of success. Some notable alum who have gone onto a great measure of success in debate and life include Nate Cohn, Jessica Yeats, Sean Kennedy, Joe LeDuc and more recently the 2013 TOC Champion John Spurlock, 2014 TOC Finalist Lev Asimow, and the 2014 CFL Champions Aditya Rout and Anav Sharma. 
  • The curriculum. The GDI believes in a balanced approach to your debate education that emphasizes research, theory and practice, practice, practice. The Scholars curriculum is rigorous and focuses on teaching students both advanced research and advocacy techniques. Scholars are expected to be internally motivated with a strong desire to explore and research the topic. Not only will you play a primary role in argument development and research but you will participate in a large number of practice debates, speeches, and skills work. All this is supplemented with a lecture and workshop series designed exclusively for this lab.

Requirements for Admission. While we will certain review and consider any application the admitted Scholars are generally entering their junior or senior season and have demonstrated potential for success at the varsity level. Here is what you’ll need to submit in order to complete your application. The general application is required and it is possible you can be admitted on the strength of your past success. If you are not sure if your past tournament results are enough we encourage you to submit a personal statement and letter(s) of rec outlined below.

  • The general application found on the GDI application page (required)
  • At least one letter of recommendation for a coach, former lab leader or someone who both knows debate AND knows you. You can send that letter to [email protected]. (optional)

We strongly encourage you to apply early. Once we receive your application it will be reviewed by our Scholars Admissions Committee and you will be notified of your admissions status. If you are not admitted we will offer you a spot on our waitlist and/or a spot in our Four Week Varsity lab.

 5 Week Sophomores Policy Program (June 23 – July 27)
The GDI has become a destination for rising sophomores from across the nation. The 5 Week Sophs Program will  be directed by Geoff Lundeen, Director of Debate at the University of West Georgia and Martin Osborne, assistant coach at Fullerton Union High School and former top speaker at the National Debate Tournament. Please visit our faculty page for me biographical details on these talented coaches.

This lab is designed for sophomores, or anyone entering their second year of debate, preparing to make a jump to the next level and has attracted some of the best, brightest and most dedicated sophomores from across the nation. Students can expect:

  • A dedicated faculty with extensive teaching backgrounds.
  • A lab of your peers who share many of the same goals and who will work to create a positive lab environment.
  • A lecture series tailored to you. We will reinforce the fundamentals while introducing more advanced theory and techniques.
  • Practical application. We think you learn best by doing. To that end you can expect many, many, many rounds, speeches, and other skills work designed to put everything you’re learning into practice on a daily basis.
  • A really fun experience. For most sophomores this will be your first extended lab experience (and for many of you your first lab experience). We want to make sure you have fun while you’re here and to that end you can expect your faculty to balance a lot of work with a lot of fun lab activities.

This lab will fill up quickly so we highly encourage you to apply early!

 4 Week Policy Program (June 30 – July 27)
The four week program continue to attract a wide range of students looking for a challenging lab environment that combines an emphasis on research with plenty of opportunities for practice and skill work. While they arrive a week later than our Scholars the Four Week labs are still major players in the development of the GDI research set. Upon arrival you, will have the opportunity to begin debating immediately with the early files produced by faculty and Scholars as you begin to also develop your own arguments within labs. You will primarily spend the first 1-2 weeks focusing extensively on original research and argument development in your labs while also attending lectures in a wide range of subjects. Practice debates, speech redo’s, and lectures will intensify during the last 2 weeks of your program culminating in the GDI tournament, a six round competitive tournament. In addition you will have the chance to work with the faculty of your choice in specialized skill labs that will meet outside of your primary labs.

2 Week Policy Programs – Varsity, JV and Novice (July 14 – July 27)
The two week programs were the inaugural programs at the very first GDI nearly 50 years ago, and continue to provide an outstanding lab experience to students of all skill levels who are looking for a high quality camp experience in a shorter time frame.   These labs are divided among skill levels, so students will be placed in labs with others of their level of experience. All these programs are truly “immersion” programs in the sense that they pack the best of all our programs into a 2 week experience.  Given the time constraints of a two week lab these programs primarily devote themselves to skill work including practice debates, speech redo’s, speaking drill and other activities geared toward the development of a students’ overall skill set. In addition the students will attend a lecture series suited to their individual skill level. The institute will culminate in the GDI Tournament, a 6 rounds tournament featuring some tough competition and highly qualified judging. If you want to get the most out of 2 weeks of debate camp this is the program for you. You will not find a better 2 week institute experience anywhere in the nation.  

1 Week Public Forum Program – Varsity, JV and Novice (July 7 – July 13)

This one week program is for Public Forum debaters of all experience levels.  This lab will focus on developing a student’s critical thinking, speaking, research and advocacy skills while also reinforcing fundamental strategies and understandings of how to effectively compete at any level of PF competition. Students looking to enhance and develop the skills fundamental to success in this format will spend their days engaged in a variety of activities including lecture, discussion, argument development, practice debates and other skill building exercises. We hope you’ll consider joining us in 2018!