Gordon Stables

Gordon StablesGordon Stables is the Director of Debate and Forensics for USC’s nationally recognized Trojan Debate Squad (TDS). A Clinical Associate Professor, Gordon has been a member of the Annenberg faculty since 2002.

Under Gordon’s direction the Trojan Debate Squad has developed into a program with three primary initiatives. Gordon oversees each of these efforts, directs the Trojan Debate scholarship program, and works with USC and Annenberg admissions to attract new students to USC.

USC’s historical strength has been intercollegiate competition and today USC continues to field one of the nation’s most competitive intercollegiate policy debate programs. USC holds several national records for intercollegiate competition and is the only university to qualify for the National Debate Tournament every year since 1964.

In addition to intercollegiate competition, Gordon has encouraged the creation of two additional programs. Students involved with the debate squad support the Los Angeles Metro Debate League (LAMDL), a partnership of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues that helps to expand debate in Los Angeles public schools.

USC is now also the only university in the nation with a research initiative devoted to the study of how the practice of debate will evolve in a digital era. ADDI (The Annenberg Digital Debate Initiative) reflects Gordon’s research and commitment to exploring how universities can lead in refashioning debate across society using digital tools and embracing digital skills. Gordon tweets at @gstables.

Gordon is a leading voice in the intercollegiate debate community. He is actively involved in each of the major policy debate organizations, including current serving as the western regional representative to the National Debate Tournament. He is also a past president of the Cross Examination Debate Association. He co-chaired the recent National Professional Debate Conference, which sought to develop an agenda for the next century of policy debate. He is also the co-editor of Contemporary Argumentation and Debate.

He currently serves as the chair of the Topic Selection Committee for the Cross-Examination Debate Association. This committee is responsible for submitting proposals and ultimately framing the season-long intercollegiate topic for all intercollegiate policy debate. He has written numerous topic papers, including the paper that was selected for the 2011-12 national, considering the role of democracy assistance as a response to the Arab Spring.

Gordon’s outstanding contributions have been recognized through numerous service awards. In 2011, Gordon became the youngest debate professional (and only the 3rd person ever) to be recognized with the highest career service awards from both national debate organizations.

Gordon embraces innovation in his classroom at USC as well. His teaching explores a range of approaches to the study of public argument. He teaches a rotation of Communication and Public Diplomacy courses, including:

COMM 201 – Rhetoric and the Public Sphere
COMM 322 – Argumentation and Advocacy
COMM 323 – Public Deliberation
COMM 370 – The Rhetoric of Ideas: Ideology and Propaganda
COMM 489 – Campaign Communication
PUBD 509 – Advocacy in Public Diplomacy: Argumentation and Debate

During the summer Gordon directs the International Communication Studies (ICS) program. ICS is Annenberg’s oldest international program and it provides students with an opportunity to travel across Europe and meet with executives from a wide range of communication, journalism and public relations professionals. Past programs have visited the BBC World Service, the OECD, Vatican Radio and TV, and the Czech Foreign Ministry.

Gordon is also active with outside professional argumentation consulting. He has worked with several television productions of debate events and provides news commentary for political campaign debates.