Deirdre Sullivan Paradigm

Last changed 14 June 2021 8:51 AM PDT

I coach Extemp and Advocacy at Bellarmine and also have experience with Policy and Congressional debate.

If I am your judge in an Interp round: I'm sorry. I don't know much about the events and honestly, much of the way I judge simply has to do with whether I am interested in the story you are telling. I am not good at evaluating blocking and so forth. It does seem to me that having multiple characters adds a degree of difficulty, so that tends to go a long way with me.

For INFO/Expos: I really want to LEARN something from your speech. You might have kind of a run-of-the-mill topic with lovely VA's and dynamic delivery, but if the content is pretty bland and I am not learning anything, then I will rank you low. I tend not to get too snowed by nice VA's. Some kids come from more money than others and if a student has a really original idea with strong research behind it, I don't want to penalize them for not having the money or access to a program that can help them get great VA's. I will say, though, that you really should not have a speech of nothing but content. That is HARD to sit through for 10 minutes. Aim to inject some humor or levity where you can.

When it comes to things like Oratory and Advocacy, I like to see RESEARCH and EVIDENCE. Your OO or OA should not be like a DI or HI. I am interested in your reasoning and analysis. Please don't try to cover for lack of empirics and analytical rigor by resorting to excessive pathos.

The event with which I have the most experience is Extemp. I love Extemp. However, I deplore the manner in which final rounds of Extemp at Nats have devolved into stand-up comedy routines. I find that more and more students say very little, they just say it in a very entertaining way. Extemp is an event where you should have an argument, you should have evidence, you should rely upon a range of sources. Students should have a sophisticated argument based upon multiple sources (1 per, no) that are accurately cited. Don't say that the Washington Post had an article on something. Tell me WHEN it had the article. In addition, I am quite pleased to see students stretch beyond standard sources like the NYT, WSJ, Economist, etc. When you show me that you are relying upon sources beyond those aggregated for you by Extemp Genie or Prepd or a similar service, I think that reflects well upon you. Bear in mind: the topics you are speaking about are by and large serious. So students who are smarmy and pleased with themselves and their puns really rub me the wrong way.

If I am judging you in Policy debate, you should know that I rarely vote on T. I don't mind a good K, but you need to understand the author. If you are just reading cards that your coach cut for you, the round is not terribly interesting because you don't understand what you are talking about. I can handle medium speed, largely because I find spreading to be really unpleasant to listen to. Plus, if debate is an academic activity, then I am not sure what the value of talking crazy quickly is. Please, please, please: do not make me listen to multiple speeches about whether or not the round is educational. That is my nightmare. You have a resolution, you have a topic. ENGAGE WITH IT. But when you dance around with T too much or go nuts about the round not being educational, I truly feel like my time is being wasted. Also, I get that there is often the incentive to go to extinction and nuclear holocaust, etc. But I encourage you to consider whether that always makes any sense. Sometimes debaters go from zero to extinction so quickly as to be farcical. I don't mind CP, framework or generic DA's, not a big fan of conditionality. If I think of anything else, I'll add to this. Basically, I want to see the students wrestle with ideas and do so in a mature, polite manner.

Full Judging Record

Tournament Lv Date Ev Rd Aff Neg Vote Result
Calif. Coast District Tournament HS 2019-03-15 PF R7 Run 181 165 Neg Neg 4-1