SMU debate finished 2021 with a national ranking by the International Public Debate Association of sixth overall among more than 100 competing universities. SMU also is recognized by IPDA rankings as having the #1 Varsity debater, Ryan Booth. Several other students are in the top ten of their respective divisions: Kaleb Simes is #6 in junior varsity; Hailey Hazen is #3 in novice, and Eric Ryan is the #3 speaker in novice. SMU won several major awards at debate competitions in the fall of 2021.
At the Middle Tennessee State University tournament SMU won the Bennett Strange Power award for highest win/loss percentage and advanced students to all levels of the elimination rounds. SMU regularly won more than 60% of their preliminary round debates this fall.
SMU moved up considerably from its #19 ranking at the end of the 2020-2021 season in May of 2021. More than 150 universities competed in the IPDA debate format including: Abilene Christian University, Arkansas State University, Bowling Green University, Boise State University, Cornell University, Florida State University, Hofstra University, Howard University, Ithaca College, Louisiana State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Oregon State University, Penn State University, Seton Hall University, Texas A&M University, TCU, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Texas- Dallas, University of Washington, and the University of Utah.
SMU attended five tournaments in the fall: Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State Shreveport, East Texas Baptist, Abilene Christian, and Middle Tennessee State University. Three of the tournaments were live and two were virtual. Live tournaments required students to wear masks while debating.
Dr. Voth published his fourth book— Debate as Global Pedagogy: Rwanda Rising with Lexington Books. Lexington is a political communication series in the Rowman and Littlefield academic publishing company. The book won the Daniel Rohrer Award given by the American Forensics Association for the top research monograph published in that year. The book argues that the teaching of debate is imperative to improving global political discourse and reducing the risk of genocide.
SMU hosted the Dallas regional Coolidge Cup Qualifier that qualifies high school students to compete at a national championship from July 2-4, 2022 in Plymouth Notch Vermont. The tournament hosts more than 70 of the nations best debaters. The Dallas qualifier attracted high school students from New York, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma. 20 students qualified for the summer tournament. More than 50 students participated in SMU debate this fall and more than a dozen students competed in tournaments throughout the semester.