UT Dallas Debate Staff
Director of Debate
Scott Herndon joined The University of Texas at Dallas Debate Program in 2002 as the Head Coach and became the Director of the Program in 2012. In that time, UT Dallas has qualified for the National Debate Tournament (NDT) 11 years in a row, been awarded multiple First Round at-Large bids, received invitations to the Kentucky and the Dartmouth Round Robin competitions, and reached the quarterfinals of the NDT in 2010 and the elimination debates of Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) nationals for eight consecutive years (2003-2012). An experienced instructor and judge, he has been a debate camp instructor at The Comet Debate Institute, the University of Missouri Kansas City, The World Debate Institute, Baylor University, University of North Texas and the University of Kansas. Scott was recognized as the CEDA Southwest Region Critic of the Year in 2004 and 2009.
Erik C. Mathis
Assistant Director of Debate, UT Dallas
I love of coaching. Because of the time, energy, and love my coaches shared with me, I have always wanted to give back to debate and to my local UDL. I worked as a volunteer for GSU for many years, helping to coach countless Georgia State students. I also worked in AUDL camps every summer. In 2014, I realized that debate was where I belonged full-time. I accepted multiple positions at Emory, working with the AUDL and coaching students at the middle school, high school, and college levels. As part of the college debate program, I have assisted in coaching many of Emory’s novice teams from their first days in debate to winning records and tournament victories. I have also worked with the varsity program, coaching fifteen teams to the NDT — including seven First Round teams. But I am proudest of the work I’ve done with the AUDL. In 2015, we initiated the Debate Ambassadors program which was designed to take the best students in the AUDL and travel them on the national circuit. The program required me to develop a new coaching structure and maintain adherence to a budget specified by the AUDL. In my first year we had six students by 2019 one of the top twenty-five teams in the country as recognized by a national coaches poll. Our teams have participated in elimination rounds at many tournaments, including NAUDL Nationals, Wake Forest, The Barkley Forum, Harvard, Ohio Valley (Kentucky), and the Greenhill national tournament. Our students have also been invited to the Greenhill and Pace round robin.
I believe that education is fundamentally about inspiring and serving the student population. My role as an educator is to persuade students that learning is important and stimulating, while providing them with opportunities to learn about the crucial issues involved with the classes I teach. I also believe that I should place myself in a position to learn from my students – a position which I believe makes it easier for me to develop student-teacher relationships that revolve around mutual respect. The communication discipline offers many opportunities to connect theoretical and abstract issues directly to the lives of our students, and I believe that I have an obligation to take advantage of those opportunities. A unique diversity of student inspires me to structure my classes in such a way that they provide useful skills and/or perspectives that benefit students directly. I believe that learning occurs most successfully when students regard teachers as reasonable people who are genuinely concerned about students’ welfare. This sense of reasonability must be balanced by an understanding and respect for the teacher’s roles as an evaluator, a classroom facilitator, and an expert in course content. Students should expect to be challenged and held accountable, but in a manner that is consistent with respectful interaction among reasonable adults.
Hunter has been involved with college debate since 2009. He debated for the University of North Texas, reaching the elimination rounds of both the National Debate Tournament and the Cross Examination Debate Association national tournaments. In addition to debating, Hunter has served as Program Manager for the Houston Urban Debate League, coached high school debate, and worked at summer institutes at the University of Kansas and the Washington Urban Debate League.