Summer Debate Institute

June 25-July 8, 2017

Samford has taken young debaters like Alex Lamballe, Tripp Rebrovick, Lee Quinn, Evan McCarty, Gabrielle Tandett and many others and created a record of success. These debates have won Emory, NFL nationals, Woodward nationals, and many others. In college some have gone on to win the NDT and be ranked among the top 16 best teams in the country.

At the Samford Summer Debate Institute, you learn from a national caliber staff at a reasonable price. The program emphasizes 21st century debating skills where at least 15 critiqued practice debates in two weeks are guaranteed.

All of our top policy debaters started off with Samford's Summer Debate Institute. Top coaching at bargain prices, at a beautiful and safe campus.
Judge J. Lane Bearden, Calhoun High School Debate Coach

Samford has a track record of success, where program graduates have been in deep elimination round of every major high school tournament.

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Samford is committed to maintaining low prices during tough economic times. Limited financial aid is available. All prices include the $50 deposit.

Residents $1,500.00
Commuters with meals $1,200.00
Commuters without meals $950.00
Residents for Public Forum* $750.00
Commuters with meals for Public Forum* $600.00
*Public Forum Division - Sunday, June 21-27


Emily Nelson, Samford Institute 2017 Parent

“Atticus and Silas Nelson are the 'Cinderella' team who won the 2017 National Catholic Forensic League Grand Championship in Public Forum Debate! Thank you for the part that your debate camp and your tournament have played in developing Nelson & Nelson to the point that they could compete and win at the national level."

Jamie Davenport, Samford Institute 2014 Alumni

I've been to two tournaments so far this year and I'm general debate captain for my team and I attribute a good bit of my success with that to the camp. I think it was so extremely helpful in that now I can teach my LDers the actual proper way to do things. Plus I actually qualified for varsity state at my first tournament of the year, which was great. All in all, I'm really glad that I decided to spend two weeks of my break in Alabama with you guys.

Victoria Susberry, Samford Institute 2014 Alumni

Hey! We got second best after the preliminary rounds. We advanced to quarters and then semis and ended in third place after the two finalist. Thank you! I owe it all to Samford!

Judge J. Lane Bearden, Calhoun High School Debate Coach

All of our top policy debaters started off with Samford's Summer Debate Institute. Top coaching at bargain prices, at a beautiful and safe campus.


Dr. Ryan Galloway, Institute Director

Ryan Galloway is the Director of Debate at Samford University.  One of the most well respected coaches and judges in the country, Galloway won the 2013 Ziegemueller coach of the year award at the National Debate Tournament. He has also judged the final round of the National Debate Tournament a record eight times and was named the third best judge of the 2000-2010 decade. He has coached several NDT qualifiers, and has coached teams to the deep elimination rounds of every major tournament in the country, including CEDA Nationals and the National Debate Tournament.  As a debater, he received two first round bids to the NDT, and won numerous top speaker awards, including at the University of Kentucky and ADA Nationals. He is excited to be directing the institute and working with the policy lab.

Allison Harper, Assistant Director

Allison Harper is Assistant Director of Debate at Samford University and Assistant Coach at North Broward Prep and Mountain Brook High School. She has over a decade of experience coaching at the high school and college levels. She coached the first-ever NBPS TOC qualifiers. She has also coached a First-Round team, the Octafinalists of the National Debate tournament, winners of the Pittsburgh Round Robin, quarterfinalists at Wake Forest University, American Debate Association national champions, and multiple Junior Varsity and Novice National Champions. As a debater at George Mason University, Allison cleared at every major national tournament, including the NDT and CEDA Nationals. She would also be happy to tell you all sorts of things about her dissertation on mutual preference judging.

Natalie Bennie, Policy Lab Leader

Natalie Bennie is thrilled to be returning to her Alma Mater for the Samford Debate Institute. A native of Nashville, Tennessee and a 2016 Samford communication studies alumna, she enjoyed great success on Samford's debate team. She was a member of the first all-female team from Samford to qualify for the National Debate Tournament. She took part in a double-octofinals finish at CEDA Nationals, appeared regularly in deep elimination rounds at a regional tournaments, was a three-time Debate All-American and a member of the 2015 U.S. National Debate Team on the summer tour of Japan. Bennie was a Rhodes Scholarship Finalist and earned a prestigious Fulbright teaching award. She has recently returned from Kassel, Germany, where she taught debate and English as a second language for the Fulbright program. She will begin studying towards an MA in Communication at Wake Forest University in the fall.

Aly Feibrantz, Policy Lab Leader

Aly Fiebrantz is the Director of Forensics and head policy coach at Cypress Bay high school. She has been involved in debate for more than half her life, with competitive and coaching successes in high school and college debate. At Cypress Bay, she has coached students to out-round success at tournaments including Berkeley, Glenbrooks and Wake. She was also the coach of the 13th place policy team at NSDA Nationals in 2014. She has a master's degree in communication studies from Texas Tech University, and her thesis focuses on women’s identities in the collegiate debate community. She believes that debate is not just a fun and competitive activity, but a platform to learn research that directly impacts people. 

Logan Gramzinksi, Policy Lab Leader

Logan Gramzinksi is a Ph.D. candidate in rhetorical studies and a debate coach at the University of Georgia. He attended the Samford Debate Institute in high school, reached the octafinals of the National Debate Tournament as a Samford debater, and went on to coach multiple NDT first round at-large bid teams at Wake Forest University, where he earned a master's degree in communication. Logan specializes in developing the ethos of his students, helping them to attain consistently higher speaker points, win more speaker awards, and clear to the elimination rounds of more tournaments. His free time is currently occupied in its entirety by a new golden retriever puppy!

Nick Lepp, Policy Lab Leader

Nick Lepp has just finished his fifth year of varsity collegiate debate at James Madison University after debating at Broad Run High School for four years. As a senior in high school, Lepp made it to the octafinals at the Catholic Forensics League National Tournament, the farthest in the history of Broad Run debate. He was a a two-time winner of the Virginia state debate tournament. During his collegiate debate career Nick has qualified for the National Debate Tournament four times and been an octafinalist at the Cross Examination Debate Association national debate tournament, as well as the winner of numerous regional tournaments. Nick has successfully coached high school debaters at all levels, ranging from novices to top level varsity. He has helped Broad Run qualify for the Tournament of Champions in policy debate for the first time in school history, and helped Berkeley Preparatory School get bids to the Tournament of Champions for the first time in half a decade.

Jeff Roberts, Public Forum Lab Leader

Jeff Roberts is returning to the Samford institute for his fifth year. He also has worked for several other summer institutes, including the Harvard Public Forum Institute in Boston, the Victory Briefs Institutes at Loyola Marymount and UCLA. He has judged the semi-final and/or final rounds of the NFL Championships in Public Forum, Policy Debate, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate events. His students have won tournaments at every national circuit, major and championship event, including wins at Emory, Glenbrooks, Big Bronx, Samford, Harvard, UC Berkley, and semi-finals or later appearances at TOC, NFL/NSDAs, and the Novice/JV National Championships. His teams won seven straight debate state championships.

Eizabeth Wood-Weas

Elizabeth (Liz) Wood-Weas coaches speech and debate at Mountain Brook High School and Mountain Brook Junior High School. She has had multiple students qualify to represent the state of Alabama in the National Speech and Debate tournament. Her middle school students won one of five coveted School of Excellence awards at the National Middle School Speech and Debate tournament when they advanced in all 3 debate events. She and her team travel extensively throughout the year to compete in the country’s top debate tournaments. She is a former policy debater herself, and she enjoys teaching and coaching policy, Lincoln-Douglas, and public forum events to students in grades 7-12. She serves as vice president of the Alabama Speech and Debate Association and as a member of the Deep South District committee.