UPDATE! Due to Covid-19, all summer sessions are available as synchronous  online programs. No on-campus summer programs are scheduled for 2021.
DO NOT USE THIS SITE! Of course, there is information that might give perspective on programming and one may review it but PLEASE USE INFORMATION FOR SUMMER 2021 ONLINE PROGRAMS AT

Online programs will still include middle school and high school debate, middle school scholars, and high school leadership communication programs. Online dates will differ from on-campus programs.

CLAREMONT SUMMER is an innovative and superior option to other summer debate and leadership communication programs. The difference is evident in the following ways:

Teacher with elementary school students


All staff instructors and event judges or evaluators must complete a certification program. The Claremont Summer programs are the only extant summer debate and communication enrichment programs requiring staff instructor and judge/evaluator certification through approved PDP certification leaders. Certification ensures a knowledgeable staff, diligent lesson planning, and implementation of best practices.


The CDLI exclusively uses synchronous instruction. Students will work in small groups with summer staff, enjoying the benefits of organized lesson planning and immediate teacher support and feedback, in all settings. 


It is 4-1. Other programs boast of ratios that are 10-1 or 16-1. Personal attention is assured.


Not simply a group of individuals who have learned debate formats and communication skills but the FOUNDERS of debate formats – MSPDP, HSPDP, YPDP, IPDP, and CHSSA parliamentary debate and the CREATORS of  professional communication training methods, including the PROPS system; the debaters and COACHES earning 20 national championships; the AUTHORS of more than 15 debate textbooks; the LEADERS in national and international debate promotion with more than 750,000 students and teachers involved in class and contest debate programs each year; the DIRECTORS AND FACULTY of more than 250 summer institute sessions; the PROGRAM MANAGERS of international debating opportunities for students in more than 20 countries; and the CONSULTANTS on professional communication for educational institutions, businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations in a half dozen countries. In just one example, the former Director of Professional Communication at Cornell University, now a communications consultant in Los Angles, will work with High School Leadership and Middl eSchool Scholars students. In addition, students in all professional communication and debate sessions will have the opportunity to learn and practice essay writing with the staff of Claremont McKenna’s Center for Writing and Public Discourse.

HSPDP.Judging Rubric.v.Jan115. INNOVATIVE DESIGN

The Claremont staff has led curricular innovation in summer debate and professional communication workshops for three decades. This includes exclusive small group instruction in seminar settings, research clinics, individualized creative learning in open forum sessions, and elective options (theory, practice, public policy, and subject-field/disciplinary) for student self-directed, customizable learning. There are scores of instructional and practice settings during a single workshop session.

The Claremont staff sponsors debate and leadership communication workshops for educational administrators and faculty, graduate students, community service organizations, non-profit groups, and businesses throughout the world each year. Students attending Claremont Summer programs benefit from the staff’s diverse training experiences learned from year-round programming.


The Claremont staff has championship experience in multiple secondary school debate formats, including US models – MSPDP, HSPDP, YPDP, IPDP, policy, parliamentary, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum – and international debating designs – WSDC, BP, Karl Popper, All-Asians, East African Public Debate Program, as well as additional college/university formats. Of course, training in the Public Debate Program supports student achievement in these other debate formats. PDP students have won policy and Lincoln-Douglas high school championships and received top awards at a number of other major national debate competitions. In addition, students learning in the PDP have won the US and World Championships in British parliamentary (WUDC) debating, among many other college debate honors.

The staff has substantial experience developing specialized communication training programs for education, business, civic, social, and political groups.

Members of the staff have researched debate educational and advanced communication practices, authored argumentation and debate textbooks, and conducted learning outcomes assessment of debate and communication instruction. The result – summer debate and professional communication instructional methods introduce dynamic approaches drawing on the best public speaking, critical reasoning, and argumentation practices.Conference – Nuclear Politics | leadership communication:conference and project programming


Claremont Summer is one of the initiatives of the Debate Union’s educational outreach programming. The Debate Union supplements its summer programs with opportunities for exchange and learning from college staff from admissions, writing, and leadership programs. For example, students have the opportunity to learn about the college admission process in presentations by senior admissions officers.

In addition, students may qualify to participate in the leadership and educational outreach programs sponsored during the academic year, including Civics in Action (CivAc), a social and political advocacy project for schools and communities, and First Reporters!, a photojournalism project. Academic year outreach programs begin in the academic year following the institute summer programs. An example of a CivAc program is the Conference on Nuclear Politics, held in February 2016 (


The Claremont Summer programs are the only authorized instructional programs for Public Debate Program formats. Other summer debate institutes offering instruction in the HSPDP, MSPDP, and other formats have not been authorized by the Public Debate Program and are unlikely to offer the instructional advantages of Claremont Summer programming, including training in new format rules and conventions and consideration of program surveys, administrative reviews, and educational outcomes assessment.

Claremont Summer debate students receive quarterly newsletters throughout the year. These include core critiques of summer performances, best practices and exercises for debate success, and updated argument and refutation information. Summer leadership students are invited to participate in CivAc programming, social and political discussion and advocacy initiatives for schools and communities.

The 2016 Claremont Summer workshops include cutting-edge presentation and argumentation instruction based on the new John Meany and Kate Shuster textbooks (2015, 2016) and John Meany’s two new texts on student leadership communication and effective professional presentations (forthcoming, Fall 2021).


Claremont Summer is a college bridge program. The program schedule is a mirror of student life at a highly selective college or university, appropriately developed for secondary school students. The instructional programs are rigorous and challenging but students have extraordinary support networks – exclusive small group instruction, the ability to work with any and all faculty, optional time of several hours daily for review and Q & A, organized peer group mentoring, multiple practice sessions, etc. Instruction is skills-based; students should develop a portable set of organization, listening, critical thinking, note taking, public speaking, argumentation, and other skills that they can carry to other academic and career settings.

When programming is held on campus, rhe institute programs are also fun, with dormitory space converted for social gathering spaces – board games, cards, conversation, and music. There are outdoor games and recreation at adjacent playing fields (including a soccer clinic from a member of the US Olympic Development Team and college soccer coach) , ice cream and smoothie socials in Claremont Village, and more…All recreation is optional and varied – several activities happen at the same time. In addition, there is always an opportunity for more private debate practice. Open forum questions and answer sessions and personalized speech and debate practice are available during any scheduled recreational time.

Students work hard, play hard, and have time for plenty of rest each day. The schedule is busy, challenging, enjoyable, and manageable – an outstanding foundation for future independent living as an elite and ambitious college student.


  1. Sorry, the Debate Union no longer sponsors a summer intercollegiate debate session.

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