About Us

Created in 2009, the Detroit Urban Debate League (D-UDL) has grown from a small organization to a prominent education initiative. The league started in 2009 with 44 debaters, and now has over 250 debaters from 18 schools.

Our initiatives include:

Citywide Tournaments
The centerpieces of the D-UDL are citywide debate tournaments held each month throughout the school year at Wayne State University. A Detroit Urban Debate League debate tournament is a rigorous, intense academic competition that can last up to twenty hours. In teams of two, Detroit area students argue for and against public policy proposals on issues ranging from science to economics to politics and government. For many students, tournaments are rare opportunities to connect intellectually with their peers, and to have their ideas about important issues considered seriously by adults. Such an experience has a powerful effect on a student’s self-esteem and interest in education.

After School Program
In each participating high school, teachers run after school practices to train students to compete against other teams. The League also has the unique opportunity to have college debaters and students from local Universities work with our students. Many schools have college debaters and students as one of their coaches to help high school students in the league learn more about debate.

Summer Debate Institute
Each summer, the Detroit Urban Debate League organizes a free debate institute to prepare students for the upcoming season and provide professional development for teachers. The summer program is supplemented by teacher training seminars throughout the school year.

Coach Training
To help teachers become more effective debate coaches, the Detroit Urban Debate League provides professional development and technical support, based on best practices compiled from across the National Urban Debate League network. The League Director runs monthly development seminars for coaches to model effective teaching, develops curriculum, and works with teachers individually to help them hone their craft.