NAQT's Grad Student policy

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NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Ondes Martenot » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:41 am

Could someone explain's NAQT policy on grad students having to play in DI? The only thing this seems to accomplish is forcing teams like SUNY Oneonta, with zero quizbowl experience, into DI. People are talking about how difficult the DI set was for experienced teams on the circuit, so I imagine how hard this set would have seemed to a brand new team forced to play DI.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:22 pm

Our existing policy is: anyone who already has a bachelor's degree has to play Division I, no matter if they're entirely new to quizbowl.

We are seriously considering changing this for the 2012 SCT/ICT, precisely to avoid forcing new-to-the-circuit teams into the more difficult division.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:35 pm

I would hope that if NAQT does allow grad students to play D2, that they are very strict in who they allow to play. I think that it might require not just a "if you have done (activity X) less than (number Y) times, you are eligible" rule, but an actual case-by-case evaluation.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by cchiego » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:25 pm

That sounds fair enough. I've talked to a number of grad students who seemed interested, but they have a hard enough time on ACF Fall or sometimes even IS questions. The selection bias of good quizbowl players who continue to play in grad school probably contributes to the impression that grad student in quizbowl = too good to be a novice. I hope that there is a process in place to make case-by-case exceptions, but with some standard guidelines outlined.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by alexdz » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:50 pm

Chad discussed this with me and the staff at Region 11 yesterday. Some people felt that the extra years of just learning experience involved with being a grad student were enough to bar them from competing in DII. I think that perhaps something should be done, however, since a team like Pittsburg State who had a grad student playing was forced to compete in DI without ever having played before. Some reasonable combination of an experience-based rule with the allowance of exceptions to be granted by NAQT would probably be beneficial to retaining teams like Pitt State, who would likely stick around if they didn't have to play DI to do so.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:08 pm

Swank diet wrote:That sounds fair enough. I've talked to a number of grad students who seemed interested, but they have a hard enough time on ACF Fall or sometimes even IS questions.
If you are in your fifth-plus year of higher education and you can't come up with the basic high school curricular facts and college survey course material reflected in these questions, then perhaps it is not the rules of the game but you who has a flaw? I agree that DI SCT is too hard right now, but if we're actually letting grad students play D2, where does it end?

I also think we need to remember that SCT takes place in February. There should not, ideally, be anybody for whom it is their first tournament of the year. If everyone (circuit and NAQT alike) did a better job of promoting regular tournament attendance, then surely no one would be shocked by what they find at Sectionals. I think it would be much healthier to have more active teams and a more reasonable DI SCT difficulty than to open DII to anyone who feels like playing there.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Cheynem » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:15 pm

I have mixed feelings on grad students in DII. Rather than summarize them, let me just say I agree with Matt Weiner that the best approach is the more logical one--make DI easier, AND promote a culture of active teams in which people are getting prepared to play regular tournaments (and have opportunities to play a variety of tournaments and teams) before SCT.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:38 pm

(If more people who signed that letter saying they would be willing to write for NAQT were to actually man up and start writing for NAQT,) how feasible would it be for NAQT to bring back a very low-difficulty IFT that they worked with ACUI to recruit new teams to? If you were to make that the sort of NAQT equivalent to ACF Fall, where it's very easy but it's also open to everyone to play in one division, and you could get lots of the less active, newly forming teams from these colleges to send a team to it in, say, November, that would get these older players exposed to quizbowl just fine and would potentially help these new teams get more involved in the circuit/help them be more competitive for Sectionals.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:41 pm

Yeah, I agree with this idea: there are better ways to address the "inexperienced grad student" situation than for NAQT to throw its hands up and just let them in.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:48 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:(If more people who signed that letter saying they would be willing to write for NAQT were to actually man up and start writing for NAQT,) how feasible would it be for NAQT to bring back a very low-difficulty IFT that they worked with ACUI to recruit new teams to? If you were to make that the sort of NAQT equivalent to ACF Fall, where it's very easy but it's also open to everyone to play in one division, and you could get lots of the less active, newly forming teams from these colleges to send a team to it in, say, November, that would get these older players exposed to quizbowl just fine and would potentially help these new teams get more involved in the circuit/help them be more competitive for Sectionals.
Making room in the production schedule for an introductory NAQT tournament is a big part of why I appreciated the question volume freeze clause in the letter. But we're far from getting majority letter-signer participation so far.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Ondes Martenot » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:04 pm

So I guess a lot of this depends on what DI Sectionals eventually morphs into. If it becomes something that is harder ACF Regionals (which Jeff seems to be alright with) then I will maintain that new teams with grad students shouldn't be forced into DI. But if it is made into something on the easier side of the regular difficulty spectrum, sort of like Penn Bowl, then I would be alright with keeping the existing rule (except maybe allowing exceptions for some extreme cases). I've seen grad students who are new to quizbowl play on stuff around the difficulty of Penn Bowl-they aren't amazing but they certainly know a lot of stuff.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Auroni » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:13 pm

It seems to me that a small-ish percentage of completely new grad students would not have the knowledge to answer tossups or convert bonus parts on a set like DI SCT (not this year's SCT, which I agree with many others was too hard). The people in this group might be grad students who did their undergrad in another country, or grad students in very specialized fields completely unrelated to the coursework they went over in their undergrad, or grad students that couldn't be recruited until the start of winter quarter or spring semester. I understand that these three groups are disadvantaged by the SCT questions, but I think that they constitute such a small percentage of grad students that would be required to play DI that it would both be a bad idea in the idea of a having a rigid eligibility rule to allow them to play DII. I guess that I am okay with very rare exceptions, but I think that NAQT not putting their foot down on the eligibility issues might lead to other people also pursuing exceptions to allow them to play DII even though they are ineligible and a breakdown in the idea of the eligibility rule as it was envisioned by NAQT in the first place.

The other option, which would be completely unpalatable to a lot of people, is to eliminate the DI/DII structure and have a unified field play on a unified set across all sites. I would personally be fine with this, though I respect the opinion of others that creating a competitive DII field for inexperienced undergrad players allows them to have fun without being overwhelmed.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:16 pm

The more I think about it, the more I have an issue with the idea that we should treat grad students just like college freshmen. That seems rather unfair to the true intended audience for D2.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:25 pm

It's been my experience that grad students completely new to quizbowl are not significantly better than freshmen new to quizbowl. Maybe being a grad student will let them put up 10 ppg rather than 5 ppg on DI, but this seems very insignificant to me. There are extremely few people who are good or even decent quizbowl players just through their life experience / coursework. If someone has an example of a grad student playing in their first tournament ever and dominating against, say, a freshman who has played quizbowl in high school before, I'd like to see that person.

I've seen two new-to-quizbowl teams forced to play DI because they have a grad student on the team, and neither tournament had very much fun (Washington State last year and Edinborough this year). Not only do these teams not answer almost any questions, but they're also facing much stiffer competition in DI than they would in DII.

Anyway, I'd favor allowing grad students to play DII if this is their first quizbowl (not just NAQT) tournament ever.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Ondes Martenot » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:35 pm

The more I think about it, the more I have an issue with the idea that we should treat grad students just like college freshmen. That seems rather unfair to the true intended audience for D2.
Well, according to the NAQT website:

Division II is the lower of the two echelons of play recognized by NAQT at the collegiate level. Division II is intended to provide new schools and new players with an arena in which they can compete against other developing teams.

No where does it mention in this description how much "life experience" one has or how old the player is. I'm puzzled that people seem to feel that age and "life experience" alone will make some a good quizbowl. Most, if not all the people on this board who try to improve their game do things like write questions or read packets. Taking a lot classes certainly helps, but it can't substitute for the time proven methods of becoming good at quizbowl.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:42 pm

Illinois State brought four teams to DII SCT and they seemed overwhelmed by the questions. Their only college qb experience was the intramural set they'd played on the week before - with the ACUI collaboration, we're going to see more schools send teams with similar backgrounds (and this is obviously a good thing, as we can now talk with ISU about starting a team there). There was enough in the DII set that required quizbowl knowledge rather than "life experience," and that served to make the set feel IMPOSSIBLE for them. There were upperclassmen on those teams - I don't see anything in the last semester or two of college and first semester of gradwork that would give you an unfair advantage over college freshmen, especially freshmen who go to schools with established clubs that will teach you the canon by February.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Auroni » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:45 pm

Ondes Martenot wrote:
I'm puzzled that people seem to feel that age and "life experience" alone will make some a good quizbowl. Most, if not all the people on this board who try to improve their game do things like write questions or read packets. Taking a lot classes certainly helps, but it can't substitute for the time proven methods of becoming good at quizbowl.
I find that the volume of undergraduate coursework and the requirement to presumably do well in those classes in order to be accepted into grad school necessitates that grad students know at least part of what gets asked at DI SCT. I am not saying that a physics grad student will be answering all lit tossups, but they will certainly be 20ing and 30ing physics bonuses and powering some physics tossups. In fact, I think Irvine had a couple of physics grad students that I have never before seen play quizbowl, and they were certainly contributing points to their team. I don't think that a standard new grad student is anything like the players that were on the teams that Mike mentioned, or on a hypothetical undergrad-devouring monster, but somewhere in between.

I strongly think that new grad students know part of what comes up in quizbowl, because if not, how are they in grad school?
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:46 pm

I think the answer is to get rid of the separate DII tournament entirely and just bump SCT difficulty down accordingly.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by MicroEStudent » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:47 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:If you are in your fifth-plus year of higher education and you can't come up with the basic high school curricular facts and college survey course material reflected in these questions, then perhaps it is not the rules of the game but you who has a flaw?
Are most of answer lines in the DI SCT really talked about in high school and college survey courses? If so, I feel shortchanged by my education. Maybe it's just because RIT has a sub-par non-economics liberal arts curriculum, but a good 95%+ of the covered topics in literature, history, RMP, fine arts and social science wouldn't be covered in the survey courses here.

I had two grad students that could have gone to SCT, but it would have been their first tournament and would have been unprepared for the questions in DI (even moreso than myself), and they could have answered a few DII questions.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by MicroEStudent » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:48 pm

every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:
Ondes Martenot wrote:
I'm puzzled that people seem to feel that age and "life experience" alone will make some a good quizbowl. Most, if not all the people on this board who try to improve their game do things like write questions or read packets. Taking a lot classes certainly helps, but it can't substitute for the time proven methods of becoming good at quizbowl.
I find that the volume of undergraduate coursework and the requirement to presumably do well in those classes in order to be accepted into grad school necessitates that grad students know at least part of what gets asked at DI SCT. I am not saying that a physics grad student will be answering all lit tossups, but they will certainly be 20ing and 30ing physics bonuses and powering some physics tossups. In fact, I think Irvine had a couple of physics grad students that I have never before seen play quizbowl, and they were certainly contributing points to their team. I don't think that a standard new grad student is anything like the players that were on the teams that Mike mentioned, or on a hypothetical undergrad-devouring monster, but somewhere in between.

I strongly think that new grad students know part of what comes up in quizbowl, because if not, how are they in grad school?
You could be in a field where a very small percentage of questions are asked. Engineering especially.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Auroni » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:49 pm

MicroEStudent wrote:
every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:
Ondes Martenot wrote:
I'm puzzled that people seem to feel that age and "life experience" alone will make some a good quizbowl. Most, if not all the people on this board who try to improve their game do things like write questions or read packets. Taking a lot classes certainly helps, but it can't substitute for the time proven methods of becoming good at quizbowl.
I find that the volume of undergraduate coursework and the requirement to presumably do well in those classes in order to be accepted into grad school necessitates that grad students know at least part of what gets asked at DI SCT. I am not saying that a physics grad student will be answering all lit tossups, but they will certainly be 20ing and 30ing physics bonuses and powering some physics tossups. In fact, I think Irvine had a couple of physics grad students that I have never before seen play quizbowl, and they were certainly contributing points to their team. I don't think that a standard new grad student is anything like the players that were on the teams that Mike mentioned, or on a hypothetical undergrad-devouring monster, but somewhere in between.

I strongly think that new grad students know part of what comes up in quizbowl, because if not, how are they in grad school?
You could be in a field where a very small percentage of questions are asked. Engineering especially.
If you are in Engineering, wouldn't you have a firm grasp on the material from undergraduate physics and mechanics classes, which is often reflected at college quizbowl tournaments?
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Cheynem » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:50 pm

There are a number of grad school programs that are not particularly well served by the quizbowl distribution. Grad school also encourages you to specialize in fields, which causes you to not learn (as much) of things outside your immediate field. We are also getting into an era when the idea that grad school is only for the "really good students" is just not true--many people are being thrust into grad school now because of the increased demands of the job market.

As maligned as my grad school program is, it has allowed me to read a ton of SS/philosophy/thought which comes up, which is nice and an argument that grad school, especially in some fields, at least gives you some advantages.

That said, I think these are reasons why DI needs to be made easier and new grad students be given avenues to play (such as more easy tournaments with "everyone can play" fields), not so much seeing DII start to open up its doors TOO much.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:52 pm

Ondes Martenot wrote:No where does it mention in this description how much "life experience" one has or how old the player is. I'm puzzled that people seem to feel that age and "life experience" alone will make some a good quizbowl. Most, if not all the people on this board who try to improve their game do things like write questions or read packets. Taking a lot classes certainly helps, but it can't substitute for the time proven methods of becoming good at quizbowl.
What part of this does making sure SCT is easier and getting teams to other tournaments so their first event isn't in February not take care of?
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by MicroEStudent » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:55 pm

every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:If you are in Engineering, wouldn't you have a firm grasp on the material from undergraduate physics and mechanics classes, which is often reflected at college quizbowl tournaments?
Physics, to a point. I never took a pure mechanics class (MEMS, yes). I took a very basic course in particle physics which seems to be asked a whole lot in quizbowl. Most of my physics background is in semiconductor physics or material science.

I realize that RIT is an anomaly compared to most other institutions at quiz bowl, so this may not mean a whole lot.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by theMoMA » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:14 pm

I would probably agree that there are some cases in which grad students should be able to play D-II. I think this is somewhat analogous to NAQT's policy that some people who have played D-I ICT can apply for an exception to play D-II. It also seems reasonable that if this policy were adopted, NAQT would not grant the exceptions very often (much like the previous experience with D-I exceptions in D-II).
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:45 pm

every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:In fact, I think Irvine had a couple of physics grad students that I have never before seen play quizbowl, and they were certainly contributing points to their team.
All four members of the Irvine team have played in at least one college tournament since 2006.

I honestly think the assumption that "just because someone is a grad student means he knows lots of things that come up in quizbowl" is patently ridiculous. I can't imagine that a grad student in economics has a "firm grasp on the material" from undergraduate classes in anything but economics and perhaps one or two related disciplines, which in any normal tournament (much less NAQT) is going to amount to somewhere less than 10/10 over the entire tournament. And, as we've already noted in hundreds of previous threads, the concept of someone being a grad student in, say, English in no way corresponds to their knowledge of the literature canon at the D1 level, just like being a grad student in geography means nothing when it comes to quizbowl-geography.

We don't have the analogous effect at the high school level here, where certain new teams are specifically disadvantaged based on the grade-level curriculum of their school (new teams of underclassmen who go to schools where physics is a senior-year course have, almost uniformly, very little physics knowledge). I don't think grad students should be allowed to play D2, but rather that the D1 SCT should be made easier to accommodate these teams.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:20 pm

Frater Taciturnus wrote:I think the answer is to get rid of the separate DII tournament entirely and just bump SCT difficulty down accordingly.
I disagree. I like that SCT and ICT are the two tournaments during the year where younger players can get a chance to play meaningful competition against other younger players while more experienced players also get to play.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Ondes Martenot » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:22 pm

What part of this does making sure SCT is easier and getting teams to other tournaments so their first event isn't in February not take care of?
Well yeah, it'd be nice if every team at sectionals at least had some experience, like ACF Fall or something, but this idea that there will be no new teams at Sectionals seems pretty unrealistic, especially considering how serious this whole NAQT-ACUI partnership is. Other events could do a better job at attracting new teams, but at least for the time being there will be a significant number of new teams each year at sectionals.

I can't really comment on the difficult of the DI set, although I guess there are pros and cons to making it easier. It might be that its rather difficult since it is used as a qualifier for a rather difficult DI ICT set. If it was too easy, it wouldn't do a good enough job determining whether a team should earn a bid to ICT (although there is obviously a middle ground to all this).
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by marnold » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:37 pm

Frater Taciturnus wrote:I think the answer is to get rid of the separate DII tournament entirely and just bump SCT difficulty down accordingly.
I think this has already been mentioned a couple times in various threads: is this seriously going to become the next talking point? I hope not because it's crazy. The problem in the status quo is that a half-dozen teams nationwide that are bad at quizbowl had to play questions that are relatively too hard. Your solution is to have them play questions that are marginally but not significantly less impossible for them... and also make everyone else play those too. This is bad because:

(1) It makes things even more boring for teams that are obviously going to qualify. Instead of at least listening to questions that might challenge them, you're just going to make the Minnesota As of the world put up 780 points and 27.5 PPB. This also likely encourages them to break up into Minnesota A-D, all of whom will be averaging probably at least 18 or 19 PPB, which will distort D-values, at-large bid procedures and will just let bad teams in the field when the good teams have their good players re-coagulate.
(2) It distorts the qualifying purpose of SCT. SCT isn't the same as Early Autumn or Fall: it is fundamentally about seeing which teams get to play for an important national championship with outreach benefits as an aside. It doesn't make sense to have a national championship decided by appropriately national championship level questions but the qualifying tournament run on sub-Fall material: teams can be wildly different in relative ability between those levels.
(3) The benefits are also basically totally negligible. Grad students that are terrible at D1 quizbowl are going to be only very slightly less terrible in D2. The extra 10 ppg they get is just not going to make a difference in keeping them around this activity. It's nonsensical to suggest totally up-ending how ICT and SCT are organized to appeal to the maximum of 6 teams that will have grad students forcing them to play D1 when realistically 4 of those teams have a 0.0001% chance of becoming regular circuit participants in the first place.

EDIT: Apparently I missed the irony in this post (perhaps satirizing the posts elsewhere that also irked me) so, uh, that's cool. Anyway, I think point 3 still stands: teams that are bad and are discouraged rather than motivated by being bad will have basically the same reaction whether they play in D1 or D2 so inventing new rules and appeals procedures doesn't seem to be very productive.
Michael Arnold
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Sun Devil Student » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:14 pm

marnold wrote:teams that are bad and are discouraged rather than motivated by being bad will have basically the same reaction whether they play in D1 or D2 so inventing new rules and appeals procedures doesn't seem to be very productive.
I'm not sure this is the case. Right now, there is an enormous jump between D2 and D1 SCT, just like the jump between ACF Fall and Regionals. And I don't think closing that gap makes much sense if it would be at the cost of widening the other big gap, the one between "D1 SCT/ACF Regionals" and "D1 ICT/ACF Nationals." So while there are some graduate students that struggle with D2 SCT, I'm sure there are also some that might get 20-30ppg at D2 SCT and then struggle at D1 SCT.

We need more stairsteps in the sequence. Any chance you can get ACUI and NAQT to help sponsor CollegiateNovice?

I'm short on time, so I'll just leave my 2 cents for you to use as you wish.
Kenneth Lan, ASU '11, '12, UIC '17
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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:15 pm

Sun Devil Student wrote:Any chance you can get ACUI and NAQT to help sponsor CollegiateNovice?
NO DONT

Seriously, Andrew Hart's work on outreach for EACNT was excellent. Whether or not he does it again, I'm hoping he'd have enough pull on whoever takes it over to put similar work into the outreach efforts. As tempered as the issues with ACUI organization were this year, it's still not ideal compared to ensuring that experienced QB people are running tournaments, and as EACNT doesn't likely need the help with outreach, it's easier left alone.
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by theMoMA » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:58 pm

styxman wrote:as EACNT doesn't likely need the help with outreach, it's easier left alone.
False. Any way to get the word out about introductory tournaments is good for quizbowl in general. For what it's worth, R. and Gail Ferlazzo at ACUI were both very supportive of the mission of Collegiate Novice and both helped me promote the tournament. I hope that if I do run the tournament again we can coordinate our efforts to get an even better turnout. But the idea that tournaments should work independent of the great resources of the quizbowl community is completely false. We should be promoting our events however we can.
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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: NAQT's Grad Student policy

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:12 pm

theMoMA wrote:
styxman wrote:as EACNT doesn't likely need the help with outreach, it's easier left alone.
False. Any way to get the word out about introductory tournaments is good for quizbowl in general. For what it's worth, R. and Gail Ferlazzo at ACUI were both very supportive of the mission of Collegiate Novice and both helped me promote the tournament. I hope that if I do run the tournament again we can coordinate our efforts to get an even better turnout. But the idea that tournaments should work independent of the great resources of the quizbowl community is completely false. We should be promoting our events however we can.
Good, then I was too strong with that last statement. Having NAQT/ACUI help with promoting events is a good thing, as long as it doesn't extend to tournament sites run by inexperienced crews in areas where experienced crews are willing and able to do the job. As ACUI helped with outreach for EACNT 1 (which I didn't know), then they're obviously helpful with outreach in non-SCT related endeavors and should be worked with as much as possible for outreach.

It'd be a wonderful benefit if tourneys like ACF Fall could work with ACUI for outreach purposes and as a means for prospective inexperienced SCT bidders to work a tournament prior to SCT. Perhaps co-hosting ACF Fall (or some other early tournament) between an established club and a new ACUI school at a site with a probable lack of SCT bids would work well.
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)

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