Public Forum Debate

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AT CAPACITY Session 1 June 29nd – July 11th, 2017 | $1,900 (commuter rate $1,640)

Session 2 July 15th – July 27th, 2017 | $1,900 (commuter rate $1,640)

A $250 non-refundable registration/deposit fee guarantees your spot and is applied to the tuition sticker price – it is not an additive fee. While there is no deadline to register, our programs do fill-up, so the earlier you register, the better. After April 7th the fee increases to $350. For more information, scroll all the way down.

Students attending UTNIF camps must be at least 13 years of age to stay as residents in the dorm. Students who are not 13 may be able to attend as commuters, with prior permission from the camp director. Please contact Kate Richey at or (717) 478-8643

UTNIF Public Forum workshops are designed for students of all skill levels and they will be placed into the appropriate instructional group at the discretion of the curriculum director at the start of the program. Less experienced students will be introduced to the foundations of argument construction, presentation and speaking, tournament preparation, and in round strategy.  Students with more experience will finely hone debating skills and work with the unique structure of the PF activity to develop strategic approaches to victory. All students will give many practice speeches, have practice debates, rebuttal re-dos, and do stop/start skills drills. All students will participate in experience-appropriate discussions and background seminars on rotating PF topics. The goal is to train students to seamlessly incorporate sound argument and persuasion skills into competition rounds. Students will learn to how to incorporate evidence into their speeches without becoming dependent upon it. All students will receive the individualized instruction, encouragement, and resources they need to come away from the workshop much improved.

Our Public Forum Curriculum Director is Joseph Uhler of Westlake High School in Austin. Joseph was previously the Director of Forensics at Anderson for over a decade.  His students at Anderson reached elimination rounds at TFA State, UIL State, NFL/NSDA Nationals, and the Tournament of Champions. In 2010, Joseph’s students were in the final round of the Tournament of Champions in Extemporaneous Speaking. In 2015, one of Joseph’s students won TFA State in Original Oratory and his Public Forum team was invited to the Harvard Round Robin. Anderson consistently finished in the top five overall sweepstakes at the UT Longhorn Classic and finished in the top ten in overall sweepstakes at TFA State five times under his leadership.

The UTNIF PF instructors are dedicated to making you a better debater. We offer a rigorous and engaging curriculum designed to build and enhance your skills. Participants in UTNIF PF will have the chance to be heard and critiqued by judges and coaches from within the PF field as well as across the forensics spectrum. 2017 Instructors include:

  • Anindu Rentala is a rising freshman at Dartmouth College. He competed in Public Forum for four years at Anderson HS in Austin, TX and was the team captain. He is a four-time TFA State qualifier and qualified for NSDA Nationals in 2016. Anindu excelled on the national circuit, reaching Quarterfinals and Semifinals at UT, Doubleoctofinals at Glenbrooks, and Quarterfinals and Octofinals at Grapevine. In 2016, Anindu received a speaker award at all but two tournaments.
  • Andy Stubbs is a debate consultant in the Houston area and works with the Houston Urban Debate League. He previously competed in cross-examination debate and advanced to the tenth round at NSDA Nationals twice in addition to receiving a speaker award there in 2007. Andy has coached PF teams into invites to the Stanford and Berkeley Round Robins.
  • Hanh Do is an assistant debate coach at the prestigious Greenhill School in Addison, Texas. She has been a judging coordinator, assistant speech and debate coach, and consultant to countless high school teams and students across the state of Texas and her students have advanced to outrounds at the Tournament of Champions, the TFA State tournament, and have qualified for NSDA nationals and UIL State. Her teams have been invited to participate in the Stanford and Berkeley Round Robins.
  • John Mast is the Debate Coach at Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas.  He has coached students to the elimination rounds of the Tournament of Champions and TFA State.  He has had students qualify for NSDA Nationals in all of the debate events, including elimination rounds. His students have been in elimination rounds of major national tournaments including St. Marks and the Glenbrooks.  John’s students have been invited to multiple round robins across the United States.
  • Cale McCrary debated for Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, Texas, serving as the Team Captain his junior and senior years. In 2016, Cale ranked as highly as 20th in the nation, reaching late out-rounds at the NSDA National Tournament, the Grapevine Classic (5th overall speaker), the Bellaire Forensic Tournament (1st overall speaker) and has bid to the Tournament of Champions. In Extemp, Cale has bid to the Extemp Tournament of Champions and gotten to late out rounds at the Texas Forensics Association Tournament.
  • & many others. 

Public Forum Curriculum Core Areas of Focus

1 – Core Expertise: Research, Flowing, and Speaking: Stylistic approaches and judge preferences vary by area. However, having superior evidence, addressing important arguments made by your opponents and your partner, and speaking better than your opponents are universal skills. Improving in these areas will immediately make you more successful. Each day debaters will participate in a series of drills designed to hone, improve, and advance their core debate skills. Students will also be provided with drill session handouts and notes for practice during the season and to share with teammates at home.

2 – Argument Development: Elements to Advanced Techniques: Debaters will learn and practic a variety of argument strategies. These approaches include components of an argument, analyzing and developing link chains, offensive vs. defensive arguments, logical fallacies, and weighing arguments.

3 – Case Construction – A Thematic Approach: Winning debaters begin with winning cases. Debaters will be exposed to and encouraged to try several different casing strategies. These strategies include using definitions and resolutional concepts to craft logically consistent cases.

4 – Speech-Specific Best Practices – A Formula for Success: Debaters should have specific goals for every speech in a Public Forum round. These goals include identifying and refuting your opponent’s key arguments as well as understanding and executing your team’s strategy. Debaters will participate in several practice rounds and drill sessions focused on maximizing the effectiveness of every rebuttal, summary, and final focus.

5 –Argument Integration – Using and Refuting Policy and Lincoln-Douglas Debate in Public Forum: Many times debaters cross-over from Policy or LD into Public Forum. This creates challenges for conventional Public Forum teams, especially if they are not exposed to or trained in dealing with the more technical aspects of their debating counter-parts. In addition to learning how to refute these positions, debaters will also learn how to package and present these same strategies in a manner appropriate for their area.

Register and reserve your spot at the UTNIF

The $250 registration/deposit fee reserves a student’s place in camp. It is non-refundable at any time, for any reason.* For registrations submitted after April 7th, the non-refundable registration/deposit fee increases to $350. This fee is a deposit and is applied to the cost of the program your camper attends, it is not an additive cost.

UTNIF accepts payment through major credit/debit cards. We no longer accept personal checks. School districts, not for profit institutions, and charitable organizations can still make arrangements to pay by check. Please contact Kate Richey at or (717) 478-8643 for more information regarding payment via check.

Why is the UTNIF registration/deposit fee non refundable?

We do not want families to shoulder an unnecessary cost burden should something happen that’s beyond their control; but we’re also a not for profit camp. We have to reserve residence hall space and hire enough summer staff in advance to supervise students. Cancelled registrations leave us over-extended, as we commit to hiring staff & reserving dorm space on the basis of early enrollment numbers. We apologize but hope you understand, the fee is needed to recoup losses associated with over extension, and is non-refundable at any time, for any reason.*

*If your household is very low income, and your camper is denied financial aid, we will consider refunds of the registration/deposit fee on a case-by-case basis.