Campus: CSU Fullerton -- June 13, 2003

Southern California Debate League Funded for Third Year

A grant awarded to an associate professor of speech communication at Cal State Fullerton will provide high school students with the opportunity to hone their public speaking and debate skills.

The Southern California Urban Debate League (SCUDL), under the direction of Jon C. Bruschke, has received $125,000 in third-year funding from the Open Society Institute, a private foundation established to promote the development of an open society worldwide. The institute is active in 60 countries.

The league conducts a speech and debate program involving students from 20 economically disadvantaged high schools in Southern California. Cal State Fullerton’s program is one of 14 such leagues nationwide.

Members of the university’s speech and debate team — ranked among the top 16 nationally — assist in teaching participating high school students how to research, prepare and present their debate topics during various after-school workshops and the program’s summer institute, scheduled for July 13-19.

Last summer, 150 youths took part in the on-campus institute, while an additional 130 students attended workshops at their high schools. Bruschke anticipates that about 200 students will be involved in the league’s activities during the coming academic year.

Since its launch at Fullerton in 1996, the league has instructed participants, who range in age from 14 to 18, on debate techniques. These teens have debated such topics as privacy, weapons of mass destruction and foreign policy.

“I’m especially proud of the way the members of the CSUF speech and debate team donate their time back to the community,” noted Bruschke. “It is one of the more exciting service-learning opportunities for our students.” A member of the faculty since 1997, Bruschke teaches graduate research methods, argumentation and debate, and advises the university’s speech and debate team with Jeanine Congalton, associate professor of speech communication.

Media Contacts: Jon C. Bruschke at (714) 278-3272 or
Susan Katsaros of Public Affairs at (714) 278-4854 or

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