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Whitworth Forensics participates in two forms of intercollegiate debate:
- International Public Debate Association: Topics are announced before each round and students have 30 minutes to prepare their arguments with the assistance of teammates and coaches. Students argue in a one-on-one format similar to the high school Lincoln-Douglas debate format.
- World Style (also known as British Parliamentary Style): Four two-person teams argue for or against a proposition. Topics are announced before each round, and teams have 30 minutes to prepare their arguments.
-- Sam Director, '15, English and Theology Double Major
Both forms of debate value delivery skills, humor and breadth of knowledge, as well as sound argumentation and reasoning skills. Debate topics may be policy-based (for example: The federal budget should be balanced within five years) or metaphorical (for example: Life is better with Starbucks).
Whitworth Forensics team members also compete in individual events in the following categories:
- Limited Preparation tests students' abilities to organize a speech in a short period of time. Students enter extemporaneous speaking or impromptu speaking events, and they speak on current events and famous quotations. Each participant answers a question by making a series of strong arguments.
- Public Speaking requires students to research, write and deliver 10-minute speeches that present clear, well-reasoned arguments. Speaking types
include persuasive, informative, after-dinner, and rhetorical criticism.
- Oral Interpretation tests students' abilities to make sound arguments and to create and stir emotions in audience members. Students present selections of poetry, prose and plays that may be serious or humorous in nature.
The Ethics Bowl
The Ethics Bowl is a related program that provides students an opportunity for academic competition. Each fall, five students form a team that competes at the Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl, in Seattle, where teams from colleges and universities throughout the Northwest vie to advance to the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, held each spring. Students prepare for the Ethics Bowl through ethics courses at Whitworth and through examining 15 public-policy cases generated by a national panel of professors and ethics practitioners.