Andrew Halverson Paradigm
Name: Andrew Halverson
School: Wichita East High School (Wichita, KS), Assistant Coach
Experience: 18+ years. As a competitor, 4 years in high school and 3 years in college @ Fort Hays and Wichita State.
I never know how to completely do these things – because I tend to think there’s no way this judging philosophy can 100% accurately describe how I evaluate a debate, but here goes.
Stylistically, I’m a decent flow, but I wouldn’t go completely crazy. That being said, I’m one of those critics (and I was the same way as a debater) that will attempt to write down almost everything you say as long as you make a valiant attempt to be clear. Super long overviews that aren't flowable make no sense to me. In other words, make what you say translate into what you want me to write down. I will not say or yell if you aren’t clear. You probably can figure it out – from my non-verbals – if you aren’t clear and if I’m not getting it. I will not say/yell "clear" and the debate will most definitely be impacted adversely for you. If I don’t “get it,” it’s probably your job to articulate/explain it to me.
What kind of argument and general preferences do I have regarding academic debate? I will listen to everything and anything from either side of the debate. You can be a critical team or a straight-up team. It doesn’t matter to me. An argument is an argument. Answering arguments with good arguments is probably a good idea, if the competitive aspect of policy debate is important to you at all. If you need some examples: Wipeout? Sure, did it myself. Affirmatives without a plan? Did that too. Spark? You bet. Specific links are great, obviously. Of course, I prefer offense over defense too. I don’t believe that tabula rasa exists, but I do try to not have preconceived notions about arguments. Yet we all know this isn’t possible. If I ultimately have to do so, I will default to policymaker to make my decision easier for me. Hope all of this settles a few things about argument selection with me as a critic.
A caveat to the above – I have recently developed a disdain towards Consult CPs and most “cheating” CPs. If it’s a part of your core strategy, you shouldn’t be dissuaded from running these styles of argument. However, I tend to be sympathetic towards the AFF on theory and substantive arguments vs. this style of argument. As the NEG, you had better REALLY win this argument to win my ballot.
Debate theory is something that is continually evolving. As a young debater, you learn and execute the basics. Then other theoretical concepts come into play as you grow in debate. In the end, debate theory can be either really complicated or really interesting. Lots of people like to stay away from theory goo—I used to be one of them. Over time, I changed my viewpoint on the matter. One of my dislikes as a critic is tagline debating—especially when it comes to theory. Repeating your tags over and over again aren’t going to convey your point any further unless you get deeper into the claims/warrants being argued. Anyway, thoroughly explaining your theory argument is a very good idea with me. Like other debate arguments, I want to theoretically know what your interpretation of whatever aspect of debate theory includes or exclude—what the world looks like under your viewpoint.
Comparing and contrast claims, whether with evidence or analytics, is extremely important for me. If you don’t do it, then you’ll leave me to kneejerk to my own proclivities. That means that I’ll probably end up concocting a story that makes sense to me—confusing you and probably leaving you a bit irritated. My advice is do the work for me so I don’t get into such a position. For the record, I do tend to lean liberal with both my debate and political proclivities.
Finally, I know you hear this a lot, but be nice and have fun. If you have any specific question about my philosophy (which you should because this certainly doesn’t explain everything), ask me questions either immediately before the debate or you can e-mail me at halverson.andrew [at] gmail dot com. Hope this clear a few things up. Happy Debating to all of you!!
And by the way, below is a semi-judge of how I give speaker points. I stole the bulk of this (actually all of it) from Lucia Scott, so I guess this means she’s gets a h/t in this portion of my judging philosophy. This is a guide for how I give speaks, but it is subject to contextual change with any given debate (which probably shouldn’t happen very often – if at all).
25 or below – You were so offensive I almost told you to shut up. You're lucky my RFD wasn't as long as they would give me telling you how terrible whatever you said was. This also includes instances where I think you probably aren’t ready for the level of debate that I was judging at the time.
25.5-26.5 – You didn't use all your speech time, and/or your partner gave most of your rebuttal. You probably repeated yourself a lot and your speech, most likely, was not compelling at all. You also might have just been absurdly rude.
27 – You failed to extend warrants, your speech was so disorganized it hurt, and/or your rebuttal was clearly scripted. You made some kind of damning strategic error. I had to say clear twice and you still weren't clear.
27.5 – This is where I start. Your speeches were pretty average with no glaring strategic errors. You were decently clear, but by no means should you quit speed drills.
28 – Your strategy or the way you deployed it impressed me in some way. You're pretty fast and pretty clear.
28.5 – You're fast and I understood almost everything you said. You're persuasive. Your strategy was efficient and effective.
29 – I understood everything you said. You obviously know your arguments well, maybe even cut the argument yourself. You were smart and aggressive without being rude at all. I
had fun watching you debate.
29.5 – Your speeches were so devastating the other team had no chance. I heard every single word of every single card. You didn't rely on cheap arguments. Everything you said could've been the 2NR/2AR. This was a super easy decision.
30 – You're not getting one of these UNLESS there are some amazing circumstances that permit it OR you have given one of the top 3 debate speeches that I have ever heard. Usually, this amount of point means that I think you could win the NDT right now.