In March, Julius Green, II and Greg Ramsey took center stage and dominated their competitors during separate L. Francis P. Liddell Student Policy Debates. Green attended the policy debate hosted by the Conference of Minority Public Administration (COMPA) in Washington, D.C. and Ramsey attended the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) conference held in Baltimore, Maryland.
After introducing the student policy debate in Hamilton, Bermuda in 2008, both ASPA and COMPA named their debates in honor of Dr. L. Frances P. Liddell, interim chair emeritus for the JSU Department of Public Policy in 2016.
Liddell founded the debate with the idea of employing techniques to further enhance a students’ ability to speak impromptu and confidently on public policy issues but with time restrictions. It also affords debaters the opportunity to further improve their communication and leadership skills.
“After the debate ended, I remember then President-Elect of the ASPA conference running up to me saying ‘Dr. Liddell, you have got to do this at the big conference—you have got to,’” says Liddell. “And as they say, the rest is history.”
The student policy debate is designed to improve the debater’s ability to think analytically and critically with time limitations. Furthermore, these intense discussions assist future public administrators with their speaking skills on issues pertaining to public policy.
Green participated as a competitor at the annual ASPA conference debate where his team claimed the championship trophy, a winner’s certificate and year-long bragging rights.
“Being a part of the ASPA debate team was a rewarding experience,” says Ramsey. “As a debate team member, I had the opportunity to defend and challenge current controversial public policy topics which assisted me with strengthening my critical thinking skills and impromptu speaking. The L. Frances P. Liddell Student Policy Debate has contributed to my professional and personal growth.”
Doctoral candidate Ramsey competed at the 2019 COMPA where his team received a certificate of participation for their debating efforts.
“As a first-time COMPA competitor, I feared that I had not put in enough work towards my research proposal and that caused me a lot of hesitation about getting critiques from other members as well as my peers,” says Green. “After receiving positive feedback regarding my proposal, I began to realize that a lot of the concepts being discussed were very familiar to me because of the coursework and preparation of the Public Policy and Administration program here at Jackson State.”
An endowment scholarship for public policy students was established with the Jackson State University Development Foundation (JSUDF) by alums Dr. Michael Adams and Mr. Robert E. Kelly.
“We are trying to raise over $10,000 for this endowment so that we can start awarding students something other than just a certificate and a trophy,” says Liddell. “We want to offer a financial incentive to help cover their travel expenses because we know it can be difficult for Jackson State to fund travel for faculty, staff and students.”