Communications Studies Prof Named to National High School Hall of Fame

May 4, 2006

Dr. Rich Edwards, professor of communication studies at Baylor University, will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame at an awards ceremony June 29 in Orlando, Fla. Edwards, the fine arts selection, is one of 12 people who will be inducted into the prestigious organization.

"Although his entire professional career has been spent working at the collegiate level, no one has contributed more to the world of high school speech and debate than Rich Edwards. Even more impressive is the fact that most of his contributions have been on a volunteer basis," said Bruce Howard of the National Federation of State High School Associations.

A college debater at the University of Iowa, Edwards received his bachelor's degree and doctorate from that university. He has served as director of the American Debate Association National Tournament from 1992-2006 and the director of the Texas University Interscholastic League 5A state debate tournament from 1994-2006. He also has taught instructional seminars for high school speech and debate teachers in 18 states.

Two of his most important contributions to high school debate include serving as author and editor of the Forensic Quarterly and his design of debate tabulation software.

Since 1932, the Forensic Quarterly has introduced the national debate topic for the high school community. After the topic is selected, the Forensic Quarterly provides an extensive overview of the topic along with a bibliography and strategic suggestions for debaters and debate coaches. Edwards has authored this topic introduction issue of the Forensic Quarterly for the past quarter century.

His tabulation software has simplified the process of administering high school and college speech and debate tournaments. This software is now used to administer most speech and debate tournaments throughout the United States, Eastern Europe, Western Russia and South Korea, as well as at a majority of state and college debate tournaments, including those at Yale, Harvard, Berkeley, Emory and Northwestern. Edwards makes this software available in the public domain from his Baylor website.

Speaking on why he contributes his time to the high school community, Edwards said, "My life was dramatically changed for the better by an outstanding high school teacher, Frank Kruse, at Newton Senior High School in Newton, Iowa. While I have focused my academic activities at the collegiate level, I have always looked for opportunities to give something back to the community of high school teachers and coaches in exchange for the wonderful gifts I was given."

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