Whitworth Forensics participates in the 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. This form of debate values 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), value-based (for example: National security is more important than privacy rights) 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. In Extemporaneous Speaking, students receive three questions about current events. They select one, prepare for 30 minutes and deliver a seven-minute speech answering the question. In Impromptu Speaking, students receive a quotation. They have seven minutes to divide between preparing and analyzing the quotation. In both events, students must offer strong arguments with evidence.
- Public Speaking requires students to research, write and deliver 10-minute speeches that present clear, well-reasoned arguments. There are four types of speeches in this category. In Persuasive Speaking, students describe a current problem and motivate the audience to address the problem with a clear action step. In Informative Speaking, students describe something of interest to the audience, such as new technology or recent scientific discoveries. After-Dinner Speaking requires students to use humor to entertain the audience and persuade them of a particular argument. Communication Analysis requires students to describe a persuasive rhetorical appeal and analyze via methods and theories of rhetorical criticism.
- Oral Interpretation tests students' abilities to make sound arguments and to create and stir emotions in audience members. Students take 10 minutes to present selections of literature along with original introductions in five different events. Prose requires a short story or scenes from a novel. Dramatic Interpretation requires an excerpt from a play or monologue. Poetry calls for one long poem or several poems connected in a thematic performance. Programmed Oral Interpretation allows several pieces from any literary genre to be used together in a theme. And Duo allows two students to select an excerpt from a play and perform together. In each category, the material may be serious or humorous in nature.
The Whitworth Forensics Team is like a family. We all support one another and genuinely care for each other. This is a group of people who can make a six-hour van ride seem like no time at all.
- Sam Director, '15, Philosophy Major