Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

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Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by nycaqb1999 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:36 pm

In the past 3 years of ICT, almost every college to play DI had a total student enrollment of over 10,000. The only small colleges to play DI these years were Amherst (2018, 2017) Kenyon (2017), and William and Mary (2016). The fact of the matter is that small colleges have issues with resources, talent pool size, new player intake, and program stability which makes playing at the top level of college quizbowl incredibly difficult. However, at the Northeast site of ACF Fall there were 9 teams from 6 different small colleges, many of them with a student body of under 5,000. How can we encourage these teams to become more competitive and active? Should ICT recognize small colleges like NSC recognizes small high schools? How can we link small college together to pool resources and advice?
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by alexdz » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:26 pm

Just looking at 2018 ICT stats, I'm seeing only 11/36 teams in DI being Undergraduate eligible. That leads me to wonder how much of this is the impact of graduate students, who would be much more likely to be at larger institutions with substantial graduate programs, which would be tiny or nonexistent at most liberal arts colleges or smaller schools.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by Susan » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:24 am

Thanks to Matt Mitchell for giving me a heads-up about this thread. I don't have a direct answer to Max's question, but as someone who works in an admin role at a LAC, I have a couple of thoughts that may also be relevant:
  • The majority of elite LACs (and lots of other types of institutions) are experiencing declining enrollments in humanistic fields; at most schools I'm aware of, these declines have given rise to conversations about whether the institution is continuing to fulfill its mission of encouraging students to pursue a broad liberal arts education that helps them engage with lots of different subjects. I'm not sure whether anyone has ever tried pitching quizbowl to college administrators as a means of helping students engage with the liberal arts, but I think there's a real and compelling case to be made here. (I can certainly say, as a science major, that quizbowl exposed me to a ton of arts and humanities fields and topics that I had little exposure to in high school, that I took some classes in humanistic fields due to quizbowl piquing my interest in their topics, and that the things I learned in quizbowl have continued to affect my engagement with, and my regard for, the arts and humanities as an adult.) I could imagine this having value either in terms of helping existing teams at LACs get institutional support or for folks interested in encouraging LACs in their geographic regions to consider forming teams (e.g., you might want to be reaching out to some folks in academic affairs/the Dean's office in addition to people in student activities or former high school players). If people think this is a fruitful path to consider, I'm happy to talk with folks and to draft some talking points or maybe an outreach template.
  • Particularly if we're able to build a case about quizbowl as a game about the liberal arts, I wonder whether some of the big LAC consortia (Associated Colleges of the Midwest, Associated Colleges of the South, etc.) would be interested in facilitating some collaboration between schools. The challenge here is that not every school is served by a big consortium--some are in little consortia like the Five Colleges, the Claremont Colleges, or the New York Six (never sure whether that's a bootlegging ring or a LAC consortium).
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by DumbJaques » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:51 pm

Susan wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:24 am
The majority of elite LACs (and lots of other types of institutions) are experiencing declining enrollments in humanistic fields; at most schools I'm aware of, these declines have given rise to conversations about whether the institution is continuing to fulfill its mission of encouraging students to pursue a broad liberal arts education that helps them engage with lots of different subjects. I'm not sure whether anyone has ever tried pitching quizbowl to college administrators as a means of helping students engage with the liberal arts, but I think there's a real and compelling case to be made here. (I can certainly say, as a science major, that quizbowl exposed me to a ton of arts and humanities fields and topics that I had little exposure to in high school, that I took some classes in humanistic fields due to quizbowl piquing my interest in their topics, and that the things I learned in quizbowl have continued to affect my engagement with, and my regard for, the arts and humanities as an adult.) I could imagine this having value either in terms of helping existing teams at LACs get institutional support or for folks interested in encouraging LACs in their geographic regions to consider forming teams (e.g., you might want to be reaching out to some folks in academic affairs/the Dean's office in addition to people in student activities or former high school players). If people think this is a fruitful path to consider, I'm happy to talk with folks and to draft some talking points or maybe an outreach template.
I think this is a fantastic idea, and entirely agree with the sentiment. I'm not sure if there's anything a doctoral candidate stranded at a big state school could do, but I'd certainly wish to support this effort any way I could.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by LeoLaw » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:32 pm

As someone who is the president of a quizbowl club at a LAC with a population of about 850, I have a lot to say about this. Beside our school being extremely tiny, our club is pretty unique in that we are the southernmost active college quizbowl team that I know of, but I think other small colleges quizbowl club probably share many of these difficulties.
  • It's pretty obvious that the smaller the population of a college is, the smaller the talent pool you have. With a population of 850, it is miraculous that our club even have 8 members, which is just shy of 1% of our population. If the same percentage of another school with 8500 students play quizbowl, their club would have 80 members!
  • We not only lack players, we also lack other resources, such as drivers and staffers for tournaments we host, along with other things such as officers of the club. Rarely would established HS players want to go to a small club due to this instability, in fact, none of our members played any NAQT tournaments before they started college here.
  • If there are conflicting personalities in the club, that could be a huge problem for logistic specially for a small club. They have to go in separate cars, play on separate teams, practice can be heated at time, etc. Sometimes, a D1 player have to play solo because they can't play on the D1 team due to conflicts and the D2 team wants to remain in D2.
  • Our school have a single grad program with about 15 students, none of them play quizbowl. I don't think it is a coincident that most D1 teams at ICT have grad students, which Alex brought up above.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by sadieb328 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:19 pm

I wanted to add my two cents regarding Susan's point about college consortiums. I attended Smith College, which is one of the Five Colleges along with Amherst, for one year before transferring to William & Mary. I had done some form of quizbowl (local house-written tournaments in middle school, NHBB in high school) since the seventh grade and was looking forward to continuing in college. Smith doesn't have a team, but I had been assured that the Five Colleges had lots of crossover in their clubs/organizations and I could join the team at Amherst. My interest was never in competing at a nationals level-- I just enjoyed it. It was, however, disappointing to find that the Amherst team was very discouraging when I attempted to reach out and join them. The logistical details (buses, etc.) of getting from Northampton to Amherst for practice would have been difficult, but quizbowl had been an important part of my life and it was upsetting to be shut out so completely.

When I transferred to William & Mary, I found (with very few exceptions) that the team was incredibly welcoming and great about scaling the difficulty of practice packets to the skill level in the room. We have a very diverse range of experience levels. I had never done ACF or NAQT, and I still have so much to learn, but my skills are improving leaps and bounds.

I'm not sure if my experience with the Amherst team was just Smith having a negative reputation among the Five Colleges or not, but I would absolutely support consortiums fielding teams. I just believe that there needs to be a cultural change to ensure that colleges that field their own teams would be willing to do so.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by Santa Claus » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:33 pm

sadieb328 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:19 pm
Smith doesn't have a team, but I had been assured that the Five Colleges had lots of crossover in their clubs/organizations and I could join the team at Amherst. My interest was never in competing at a nationals level-- I just enjoyed it. It was, however, disappointing to find that the Amherst team was very discouraging when I attempted to reach out and join them. The logistical details (buses, etc.) of getting from Northampton to Amherst for practice would have been difficult, but quizbowl had been an important part of my life and it was upsetting to be shut out so completely.

...

I'm not sure if my experience with the Amherst team was just Smith having a negative reputation among the Five Colleges or not, but I would absolutely support consortiums fielding teams. I just believe that there needs to be a cultural change to ensure that colleges that field their own teams would be willing to do so.
As the current head of Amherst Quiz Bowl and someone who would have been on the team at the time you were attempting to join, I would like to apologize for any level of discouragement that you might have received. Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in quiz bowl, and I’ve tried to ensure that people who go to other schools in the Five Colleges can come to our practices and feel welcome. I’m glad you’ve found an environment to play quiz bowl in and am sorry that Amherst couldn’t do that for you. I don’t remember the specifics of your situation, and I don’t have access to any communication you might have had with our leadership at the time, but I figure I might try to explain what the situation with Amherst and the other Five Colleges is to the best of my knowledge.

Amherst practices are currently open to other Five Colleges, but I’m not sure if that was the case when you came. Even now, though, they can’t compete on the same team with us at competitions. Since we often have space on our cars, we’re willing to help arrange travel, but other schools (Mt. Holyoke and Smith) have primarily just come to practice and to staff at tournaments. We certainly don’t have any biases against Smith, but you guys are far away and the bus is the only way to get between schools short of private vehicles so there’s not much we can really do about that.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by Aaron's Rod » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:13 pm

Glad to see this topic bumped recently, I meant to respond in November but never got around to it.

For reference, I went to an all-undergraduate four-year school of about 1,500 students, in a state (WI) where pyramidal high school quizbowl is not unknown but very small, and which also draws heavily from two states (MN and IL) which have strong HS QB circuits. About every four years or so, a student with high school quizbowl experience will join the club.

It cannot be understated how difficult it is to compete at anything above the "Regionals-minus" level when you are constantly reinventing the wheel every year. There are certainly examples of people who didn't play pyramidal quizbowl in high school and, with great effort, exploded on the college scene. But when you look at most successful teams and players in college, nearly everyone started in high school. So if you're not getting a lot of strong high school players, and when you have no grad students who can stay on for long periods of time, it's hard to build a strong team.

When I became in charge of the club, I shifted our focus away from tournaments in Chicago and towards tournaments in Minneapolis, even though it's about a 50% longer drive, because I found it demoralizing to get beat up by a Chicago J team. I exaggerate, but not by a lot!
Susan wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:24 am
Particularly if we're able to build a case about quizbowl as a game about the liberal arts, I wonder whether some of the big LAC consortia (Associated Colleges of the Midwest, Associated Colleges of the South, etc.) would be interested in facilitating some collaboration between schools. The challenge here is that not every school is served by a big consortium--some are in little consortia like the Five Colleges, the Claremont Colleges, or the New York Six (never sure whether that's a bootlegging ring or a LAC consortium).
Not that you would have to spearhead any implementation, but I'm genuinely curious what sort of thing you had in mind. Maybe some sort of invitational tournament just for small colleges in one's consortium?

I'm wondering if there are some sites of non-nationals-qualifying spring tournaments (i.e., not SCT and not Regionals), which are traditionally closed, that could relax their restrictions to let students from the same LAC consortium play on a semi-open team. I'm particularly thinking of "Regionals-minus" tournaments which often target undergraduate students. (This might be a terrible idea, just thinking.)
LeoLaw wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:32 pm
We not only lack players, we also lack other resources, such as drivers and staffers for tournaments we host, along with other things such as officers of the club.
Emphasis mine, but this problem has plagued my alma mater seemingly endlessly in the past couple of years.

To address some of the the initial questions...
nycaqb1999 wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:36 pm
Should ICT recognize small colleges like NSC recognizes small high schools?
Yes. (In my dream world, there is an SSNCT for college, an idea that no one will ever implement because it would be wildly unprofitable. In my slightly-less-insane dream world, there are a divisions of large and/or national tournaments that small schools could optionally compete in.)
nycaqb1999 wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:36 pm
How can we encourage these teams to become more competitive and active?
At Lawrence, we usually played three tournaments a year: ACF Fall, DII SCT, and (then) MUT. I would like to posit that there's nothing wrong with that. You are contributing your money to the quizbowl community in a very balanced way: ACF, NAQT, and housewrites. It's great that there are some colleges (Wesleyan, Kenyon, Amherst, etc.) who push themselves to do more, but it's not a sin to just play below regular level.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by alexdz » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:32 pm

As I've been planning my community college tournament in Philly, someone asked me once if I'd be open to inviting small 4-year schools to join us as well. I pondered the idea, and while I don't think it would be a great idea for this first event, I wonder if being more intentional about having events for smaller and newer schools in particular is a good idea. Obviously, you have events like collegiate novice which are designed for new *players,* but if we were more purposeful as a community about hosting events for new *schools,* especially small ones, I wonder if we'd see growth of the size of circuits. Obviously, these tournaments moreso than almost any other would require extensive outreach: I've been working for months and currently have only a few nibbles of interest in my CC event. But perhaps if a region got together and worked to build up new schools, like one might do in a weaker high school region by contacting schools without active teams... maybe we could make some progress?
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by 1.82 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:17 pm

Aaron's Rod wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:13 pm
nycaqb1999 wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:36 pm
Should ICT recognize small colleges like NSC recognizes small high schools?
Yes. (In my dream world, there is an SSNCT for college, an idea that no one will ever implement because it would be wildly unprofitable. In my slightly-less-insane dream world, there are a divisions of large and/or national tournaments that small schools could optionally compete in.)
In theory, at least, the undergraduate classification at ICT and ACF Nationals should provide exactly this kind of recognition. If memory serves, the undergraduate classification was created specifically to offer schools without substantial graduate enrollment a national championship to aspire to. In practice, I don't think it accomplishes this goal. As a member of the team that won the 2016 ACF Nationals undergraduate championship, I enjoy telling people that I'm a national champion, but I can certainly say that I didn't care about winning that title, and I think that that's true of my teammates on that team also.

There may be an issue in terms of having enough teams who qualify, but it seems to me that the undergraduate classification would be more meaningful if it were restricted to institutions whose student body is overwhelmingly or entirely made up of undergraduates.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by Milhouse » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:28 pm

1.82 wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:17 pm
There may be an issue in terms of having enough teams who qualify, but it seems to me that the undergraduate classification would be more meaningful if it were restricted to institutions whose student body is overwhelmingly or entirely made up of undergraduates.
It seems like this would have the effect of making the undergraduate championship as meaningless as the D2 championship (though what degree of meaninglessness that is is debatable), since right now only two such institutions (Amherst and NCF) are in the ACF Nationals field (though Gettysburg is next in the waitlist).
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by High Dependency Unit » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:50 pm

Milhouse wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:28 pm
1.82 wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:17 pm
There may be an issue in terms of having enough teams who qualify, but it seems to me that the undergraduate classification would be more meaningful if it were restricted to institutions whose student body is overwhelmingly or entirely made up of undergraduates.
It seems like this would have the effect of making the undergraduate championship as meaningless as the D2 championship (though what degree of meaninglessness that is is debatable), since right now only two such institutions (Amherst and NCF) are in the ACF Nationals field (though Gettysburg is next in the waitlist).
If we wanted to make a championship for smaller schools, wouldn't modifying ACF's D2 championship fit nicely? The idea of what is basically a "college JV" championship exists in no other competition that I know of, and is basically meaningless as is.

Still, if we want to have a championship for small schools, we need to get more small schools interested in competing at a higher level.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by cchiego » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:43 pm

One of the best things to do would be to create an advisorship position for quizbowl and make that part of a professor's service to the college. This is not just having an advisor for the club like any random club, but rather a position that the college/university makes it a point to fill with a professor as part of their professional obligations. Other academic competition extracurriculars like Model UN and Mock Trial already have this kind of position--a decent percentage of job ads for professors in political science explicitly list serving as the advisor to those teams among the requirements (I haven't found anything for academic quizbowl in years of job ads, though there are some for things like Athletic Training Quizbowl and a few other discipline-specific quiz bowls). If you can lobby your administration to make a quizbowl advisor a permanent service position that needs to be filled, that would go a very long way towards helping these teams at least continue to survive instead of being ephemeral. Of course, it's slightly tougher since there's no clear "home department" for quizbowl, but hopefully someone in a college of arts and sciences or the provost's office would be willing to listen (after all, it's another specific activity they can brag about having or winning). The failure of the NAQT-ACUI partnership suggests that it usually needs to be a professor, not a student activities director, to advise a quizbowl team and that's basically how these other activities work as well.

There's also other institutional things that might well be lobbied for to help favor quizbowl at more colleges. The Common Dataset for instance includes a checklist of ECs that has drama, debate, mock trial, model UN, and other activities on it, but not quizbowl. That plus things like getting quizbowl considered as part of accreditation processes might be another thing that would incentivize admins to care a bit more about supporting a quizbowl team. I'm not quite sure how to make these changes, but they'd be good things for anyone who played quizbowl and ends up in academic admin to think/speak about.

Another idea is to have some kind of league that is local (so easier to travel to) and that played on more accessible questions to help attract non-HS players and to keep teams alive and thus able to attend other competitions. This could be a within-consortium thing or just a local league that includes non-LACs too; it depends on the circumstances. This could also help some of the regional state universities that don't get the same kind of high school players on average that the flagship state universities get also have more competitive matches since many of those seem to have similar issues with persisting past one or two dedicated players. The Kentucky Quick Recall League seems to be a fairly successful example of a league that attracts all kinds of teams--CCs, LACs, regional state Us, etc.--and keeps them playing. I know in the past there were issues with certain schools playing on HS sets well past the point where they should have stopped, but properly managed these leagues might be quite useful, especially if they can build off of pre-existing ties somehow.
Aaron's Rod wrote:At Lawrence, we usually played three tournaments a year: ACF Fall, DII SCT, and (then) MUT. I would like to posit that there's nothing wrong with that. You are contributing your money to the quizbowl community in a very balanced way: ACF, NAQT, and housewrites. It's great that there are some colleges (Wesleyan, Kenyon, Amherst, etc.) who push themselves to do more, but it's not a sin to just play below regular level.
This is absolutely true as well and probably the ideal yearly schedule for a lot of schools. But it would be nice to have a few more competitions as well for these teams and for new players in general at the college level, especially if they're already struggling at those tournaments like a fair number of newish schools have done in recent years.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by Cheynem » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:37 pm

Would this require some changes at the level of the college/department as well? For example, during my brief time as a professor at U of M-Morris (which is kind of like a LAC), I probably could have tried to be an adviser of sorts to the team, but I became kind of overwhelmed doing all kinds of other professor-y things (I suppose I could have stopped doing some quizbowl type things, like working for HSAPQ, and concentrated on the team). But the central point was that my primary goal (improve the C.V. and get hired) would not have been helped at all by working with the quizbowl team because that's simply not what universities or colleges or departments are looking for. Now, my final year at Morris, I served as the co-adviser for the History Honor Society. That was kind of what such departments were looking to see on a C.V. and was an aspect of required service, but it was also treated as basically a "ticking of a box" by all faculty members. My co-adviser was professional and helpful enough, but he was also pretty uninterested in the organization and did the bare minimum of work (this is not an indictment of him) because he was basically ticking the box (he has a job and I don't, so that should tell you something about what academia is looking for).

In short, I'm curious how we can translate being a "quizbowl adviser" to something that colleges/departments want, and if we do, how you can avoid having disinterested faculty members just basically do the bare minimum (which could be good, or could be disastrous if your club has poor leadership).
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by LeoLaw » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:41 pm

Cheynem wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:37 pm
Would this require some changes at the level of the college/department as well?
Our quizbowl club didn't have a faculty adviser kind of thing, but a large part of why we were able to exist for the last four years was the support from the school in general. We are pretty well-funded.
Milhouse wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:28 pm
1.82 wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:17 pm
There may be an issue in terms of having enough teams who qualify, but it seems to me that the undergraduate classification would be more meaningful if it were restricted to institutions whose student body is overwhelmingly or entirely made up of undergraduates.
It seems like this would have the effect of making the undergraduate championship as meaningless as the D2 championship (though what degree of meaninglessness that is is debatable), since right now only two such institutions (Amherst and NCF) are in the ACF Nationals field (though Gettysburg is next in the waitlist).
Looks like the UG title for this year will be very competitive and neither teams you mentioned were top 5 in A-values calculation. Though I am not sure if such a rule change will have any significant effects on encouraging small school's participation in quizbowl.
Aaron's Rod wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:13 pm
nycaqb1999 wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:36 pm
Should ICT recognize small colleges like NSC recognizes small high schools?
Yes. (In my dream world, there is an SSNCT for college, an idea that no one will ever implement because it would be wildly unprofitable. In my slightly-less-insane dream world, there are a divisions of large and/or national tournaments that small schools could optionally compete in.)
SSNCT for college would be amazing. The fact that Community Colleges are recognized as D2 at ICT makes me want to argue that it is harder to run a club at a LAC than at a CC, since CC usually have an adult running the club. Though I am probably biased since Florida do have the best CC circuit.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by Santa Claus » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:15 am

Milhouse wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:28 pm
It seems like this would have the effect of making the undergraduate championship as meaningless as the D2 championship (though what degree of meaninglessness that is is debatable), since right now only two such institutions (Amherst and NCF) are in the ACF Nationals field (though Gettysburg is next in the waitlist).
Because the ACF UG clock begins ticking from when one enrolls and does not stop during gap years or leave (Rule 12A), Amherst is not UG eligible despite being a purely undergraduate institution. We are still undergrad for NAQT, though.
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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by tiwonge » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:17 am

We're neither a small college nor a liberal arts college, but we share some of the same struggles. (Most of our players, for example, either did not play in high school, or did not play at competitive schools in high school, and aren't strong players when they start for us.)

We have a very successful debate organization, and it is supported by the Communications department. They have a faculty member whose non-teaching responsibilities include coaching the team.

We have a new and seemingly very successful eSports team. It is supported by the Education department. (At least, I think it is--their coach is a faculty member in the Education department, and does research on things like virtual learning.) The eSports program is about 2 years old, and has run high school tournaments. I've been meaning to talk to their coach about how he was able to contact and recruit schools so quickly.

Our quiz bowl club is much less successful, and has only been a student club. I haven't tried to find academic support for it, but also, I haven't been sure where to look. (As mentioned earlier, there's no good fit for it.) Also, I was removed as advisor for the club this year because I founded a quiz bowl nonprofit for Idaho, and there were some conflict of interest issues between IQAT hosting tournaments and the BSU club attending tournaments, and me being on both ends of that. The current club advisor has never attended practice or, as far as I know, even played quiz bowl. (Which, honestly, is how I think student clubs should be run. They should be run by students, not advisors. College teams, on the other hand, should probably have more institutional support.) The club has been a lot more active in getting money from Student Organizations than in the past, so it's decently well-funded (although circumstances have prevented our full teams from going to Seattle for two straight tournaments), but I think there's more that institutional support could offer.
Colin McNamara, Boise State University
PACE
Idaho Quiz & Academic Teams

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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by mjoy » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:07 pm

Cheynem wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:37 pm
In short, I'm curious how we can translate being a "quizbowl adviser" to something that colleges/departments want
Good question! At the risk of celebrating and singing myself, it's possible I'm the only person in history to make service as advisor to a collegiate quiz bowl team a major part of an application for full professor. As higher ed faces an impending demographic crisis (see Nathan Grawe's excellent, albeit not-very-creatively-titled Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education), I've found that quiz bowl can be portrayed as a small but meaningful part of a school's efforts to attract excellent students.

Here's a bit of what I wrote in my application: "Since many of my faculty colleagues are advisors of student organizations, it is incumbent upon me--as the applicant for promotion--to demonstrate why I believe that my efforts with the Quiz Bowl team rise to the level of 'transformative' service. I don’t really consider the Quiz Bowl team just another student organization; I do consider it NMU's 'Varsity Sport of the Mind' and a powerful attractor for the very best high school students to consider attending Northern. The fact that we have such an organization, aimed at the brightest and most curious students, redounds to our benefit as we confront our enrollment challenges. Ours is the only collegiate quiz bowl team in the Upper Peninsula, and one of only four in the state (the others are at Michigan, Michigan State, and Central Michigan). Over the past five years, I have spent hundreds of hours working with these students, preparing them for competitions, organizing travel and accommodations, driving the students in gigantic vans across the upper Midwest, and securing funding for the team--which makes everything else possible."

I cringe a bit at some of the puffery--part and parcel of the T&P application genre, I guess--as well as my deployment of the "Varsity Sport of the Mind" slogan. But I do think the presence of a quiz bowl team sets us apart from the other regional universities in our isolated neck of the woods. I do think that at schools like mine and those mentioned by the original poster, having a dedicated faculty advisor can help a team persist through challenges (like having all your officers graduate in one year) and find funding to participate in tournaments, which in turn helps students to want to continue with the team. There are at least 15 active members of our team--not all of them come to every practice, but most of them come to most practices, which seems pretty good!

It would be great to have an "Up North" circuit with teams at Minnesota-Duluth, UW-Superior, UW-Green Bay, UW-Stevens Point, and Lake Superior State (MI), to go along with our club, that of Alex's fine alma mater Lawrence, and the good folks at Michigan Tech who started a team a few years ago.
Michael Joy, faculty advisor
Northern Michigan University Quiz Bowl

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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by Cheynem » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:35 am

Very interesting post--can I ask what you teach?
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

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Re: Small Colleges, LACs, and ICT

Post by mjoy » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:04 am

Cheynem wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:35 am
Very interesting post--can I ask what you teach?
Of course. I mainly teach Spanish (all levels, language and literature). Since 2011, I also have had faculty and administrator roles in the NMU Honors Program.

In fact, I'm putting together a little proposal for the "idea exchange" at this year's National Collegiate Honors Council conference (November, in New Orleans), in which I hope to show how quiz bowl and honors programs/colleges can work in tandem to attract excellent students and enhance the intellectual environment of a campus.
Michael Joy, faculty advisor
Northern Michigan University Quiz Bowl

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