Edward Panetta currently serves as Department Head and has been the Director of the Georgia Debate Union for the last thirty years. During that period the University of Georgia has qualified more than fifty teams for the National Debate Tournament (NDT). UGA debate has also been active in international debating during Panetta's tenure as director. Members of the Georgia Debate Union have been selected to represent the United States in Japan, Great Britain and Eastern Europe. In 2007, he was named the National Debate Coach of the Year.
Professor Panetta does research in the area of argumentation studies. He publishes theory pieces that are intended to influence the practice of intercollegiate debate in the United States. A second element of his research is the assessment of public argument in political campaigns and in environmental controversies.
Ed Panetta (along with William Mosley-Jensen) recently published an essay titled “Patterns of Reasoning.” The essay will appear in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Health and Risk Message Design. He (along with Jarrod Atchison) published “Recovering and Celebrating Controversy: Justification for Intercollegiate Policy Debate for the 21st Century.” This essay will appear in Recovering Argument in 2018.