Forensics Team Membership/FAQs

Being a member of the Forensics team means that you are member of a competitive public speaking and debate team with a long tradition of excellence as competent communicators and success in state, regional, and national competition. As a member of the team, you are expected to develop your communication competence to uphold those standards of excellence.

Members of the Forensics team compete against other students from 2 and 4 year colleges/universities in four major genres of events: Public Speaking, Oral Interpretation, Limited Preparation, and Debate. Read more on the specifics of each genre.

  • Enroll in Speech 1190 (1 credit hour)
  • Attend 2 team meetings per week
  • Develop 2-4 performances for competition

Forensics requires a time commitment similar to that of an athletic or academic team. Most students spend between 6-10 hours a week attending team meetings, preparing events and coaching. Tournaments require your availability during the entire duration of the tournament.

Tournaments are competitions where individuals compete against other community college and/or four-year college/university students in Public Speaking events, Oral Interpretation events, Limited Preparation events, and Debate. Tournaments typically occur on weekends, and can occur in single day or multiple day formats. The competitive season runs from October to April with tournaments occurring 2-4 times per month.

During a tournament, each competitor will compete in 2-3 preliminary “rounds” during which competitors will perform their event and be judged (single judge) against 4-5 other competitors in each round. Judges rank competitors in each round 1-6 with a rank of 1 representing the best performance in the round. After the preliminary rounds are finished, the judges scores are added, and the top 6 competitors in each event advance to a final round where they are judged by a panel of 3 judges. After the final rounds have been tabulated, an awards ceremony is held where competitors receive trophies for their placement. Read more on the specifics of each genre.


During preliminary rounds of competition, you may may perform in front of as few as 1 individual or as many as 40 people. At larger national competitions, you may perform in front of 100 or more people.


No, in fact it is impossible for any student to attend every tournament. Tournament attendance is based on your personal availability, event preparedness, transportation (space on college vehicles), and tournament entry limitations.

Events have four categories: Oral Interpretation, Public Speaking (platform), Limited Preparation, and Debate.

The Forensics Team is supported by the activity fees you pay at registration which supports the team’s transportation, entry fees, lodging (when necessary), and some meals. You may have to pay for your meals.

Competitors are required to perform in business attire, so you may need to purchase an outfit for competition. However, the coaching staff and team members are very thrifty and know how to acquire clothing that is appropriate for each student’s budget.

There are three ways to get involved:

  • Fill out the member interest form online. Once received a current team member or coach or a will contact you via email or phone.
  • Stop by the Forensics office, Student Services Center (SSC), Room 1216. View a map of the team room location.
  • Contact one of the coaches via email, phone or office visit. 

Contact Information

Kacy Abeln Stevens, Director of Forensics
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 2E07K
Phone: (630) 942-2175