Public Forum Debate Camps 2015



We are very happy to offer an outstanding program for debaters in Public Forum in 2014.

The first session (June 26-July 3), designed for students at the Novice and Intermediate level will introduce students to the foundations of argument construction, presentation and speaking, tournament preparation, and in round strategy.

The second session (July 5-July 12), designed for students experienced in PF competition and ready to advance to the next level, will finely hone debating skills and work with the unique structure of the PF activity to develop strategic approaches to contest round victory. Students looking for a more rigorous experience are welcome to attend both workshops.

The Curriculum Director for our 2015 Public Forum workshop is Joseph Uhler of Anderson High School in Austin, Texas.  Joseph has been the Director of Forensics at Anderson for the past eleven years.  His students have reached elimination rounds at TFA State, UIL State, NFL Nationals, and the Tournament of Champions.  In 2010, Joseph’s students Haydn Forrest and Saan Heng-Devan, advanced to the final round of the Tournament of Champions in Extemporaneous Speaking.  In 2011, Joseph’s student, David Engleman, won TFA State in Congressional Debate (House).  Anderson consistently finishes in the top five overall sweepstakes at the UT Longhorn Classic, and, has finished in the top ten in overall sweepstakes at TFA State five of the past six years.  This year, Joseph’s Public Forum team of Lucy Tiblier and Finley Patterson was invited to the Harvard Round Robin.


 Additional Staff Include:

Rhonda Smith has taught for 25 years, having coached debate for 15 of those.  She currently coaches at Plano West High School.   This year, ALL SEVEN of Rhonda’s Public Forum teams advanced to the elimination rounds at TFA State.  The Plano West Public Forum teams consistently advance to elimination rounds at highly competitive tournaments including Grapevine, Hockaday, TFA State, Harvard, and the NSDA National Tournament.  This year, Rhonda’s teams won all three spots at the Lone Star NSDA District Tournament.

Vishal Vusirikala competed in Public Forum Debate for Plano West, graduating in June of 2014. He earned three bids to the Tournament of Champions by winning the Hockaday, Grapevine, and Bellaire Invitationals. In addition to qualifying for the TFA State tournament three years in a row, Vishal reached elimination rounds at the NFL National tournament and the Harvard Invitational. During his senior year, Vishal won second place at the TFA State Tournament, was invited to the prestigious Harvard Round Robin, and placed third in the International Public Policy Forum. He is currently a prospective student at Carnegie Mellon University.


PF Debate Camps COST DATES
Public Forum Novice Session $1050 June 26 – July 3
Public Forum Experienced Session $1050 July 5 – July 12


Sign up for the UTNIF Public Forum Debate Program!


Apply Now! (250 “down payment” at the time of application will be counted toward the total.))


UTNIF PF Novice Session (to pay the remaining registration fees of $800)


UTNIF PF Experienced Session (to pay the remaining registration fees of $800)

All students will participate in experience appropriate discussions and background seminars on rotating PF topics. Students will engage in skills development through practice debates, re-do speeches, and stop/start instruction. The goal is to train students to seamlessly incorporate sound argument and persuasion skills into contest round performance. Students will learn to how to incorporate evidence into their speeches without becoming dependent upon it.  All students will receive the individualized criticism, encouragement and instruction they need to come away from the workshop much improved. 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. Students looking for a more challenging experience are welcome to attend both sessions of instruction.

The UTNIF PF faculty and staff are dedicated to making you a better debater. We offer a rigorous and engaging curriculum designed to build and enhance your debating skills. The Public Forum curriculum will focus on five key areas:


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 your skill set in these areas will immediately make you a more successful debater. 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.


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. Also, we believe arguments are arguments despite what we call them. 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. Arguments discussed will include framework, plans and counter-plans, kritiks, theory, and disadvantages.