US Debate and Public Speaking

The abilities to communicate, to think critically and to conduct research are essential for functioning effectively in the 21st century. Whether in the classroom, boardroom, church, courtroom or town hall meeting, effective communication skills enhance the chances that meanings are conveyed and intentions are more accurately ascribed. Effective communication skills are crucial to avoiding violence as a means of conflict resolution. The J.B. Fuqua Speech & Debate program is designed to develop a proven competency in these skills among students.

Advanced Debate

This course, recommended for students who are experienced debaters, continues the study of debate with an emphasis on research using a variety of literary and technical genres; advanced forms and types of argumentation; and delivery. Students are expected to organize and write position papers as well as present oral arguments on elements related to the year's Policy, Lincoln Douglas or Public Forum topics.

Beginning Debate

This course will seek to familiarize students with various forms and types of arguments; types of logic and reasoning systems (and their corresponding fallacies); types and methods of research; and means of organization, preparation and presentation. Multiple speech and debate formats will be engaged including Policy debate, Lincoln Douglas debate, Public Forum debate, Impromptu Speaking, Dramatic and Humorous Interpretation and Extemporaneous Speaking. Argumentation theory will also be studied in an effort to understand and appreciate argument and debate as epistemic.

Intermediate Debate

This course continues the study of debate with an emphasis placed on in-depth investigation of concepts introduced during Middle School debate. Students will be introduced to research using a variety of literary and technical genres. Argumentation theory will also be studied in an effort to understand and appreciate argument and debate as epistemic. Research skills, oral presentation and critical thinking will be stressed throughout.


Public Speaking

This course provides an introduction to the many aspects of communication. Students are engaged through graded public speeches; listening exercises; interpersonal and small-group communication activities and projects; studies and critiques of mass-media and propaganda strategies; as well as research methods and strategies. Students view outstanding examples of discourse from all of these genres of communication. While performance is stressed, students will also be required to evaluate each of their own performances and those of their classmates.

Faculty & Staff

Debate & Public Speaking Department

Abby Schirmer

Abby Schirmer

Director of Speech and Debate

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