Session 1 | June 30th – July 12th, 2019
Session 2 | July 19th – July 31st, 2019
Residential tuition is $2,000 (includes dorm stay & all meals); Commuter tuition is $1,765 (must live <35 mi. from UT)
The only difference between the two sessions are the dates – a camper should attend either Session 1 or 2, but not typically both.
WOW! Our UTNIF PF graduates have been busy! UTNIF Public Forum campers went on to win top speaker awards and/or to earn bids to the Tournament of Champions at competitions across the country, including: Grapevine HS (TX), Ridge (NJ) Princeton (NJ) Scarsdale (NJ) Villiger – St. Joseph’s (PA) Bellaire (TX) Myers Park (NC) Hockaday (TX) Glenbrooks (IL) Katy Taylor (TX) Apple Valley (MN) Winston Churchill (TX)
Our approach to Public Forum at the UTNIF
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 a world class experience and education, with the skills, confidence and preparation necessary to succeed in Public Forum debate during the regular season.
Testimonials from former UTNIF campers
“UTNIF was the first debate camp I went to so I felt intimidated being in a sea of new faces in an activity I was unfamiliar with. By the end of camp, I was good friends with all of the students and lab leaders I met there and I still keep in touch with many of them even three years after the camp. In addition to the friends and connections I made, UTNIF prepared me extremely well for the debate circuit the next year. The camp really felt individualized – I had ample time to work personally with the lab leaders who are some of the best at any camp in the nation. UTNIF helped to lay the foundation for my next three years of debate by teaching me both the fundamentals of how Public Forum works and exposing me to a myriad of different types of arguments.”
- Caden Day (UTNIF 2016)
“UTNIF was an incredibly enriching and educational experience. Through amazing teaching, great coaches, and quality material, the camp taught me to hone my skills in debate and accomplish things I thought weren’t possible. Most of all, I made lasting friendships and connections with other campers and lab leaders, finding a community and family of people that share my interests. This camp doesn’t just foster a great educational experience where you can find your voice, but also creates some of the most memorable moments of your life. At UTNIF, you won’t just find an amazing education, but an amazing home as well.”
- Aditya Manjul, Seven Lakes High School (UTNIF 2017)
“When attending the PF portion of the UTNIF speech and debate camp, I found that there were advantages unique to the community and staff at the Camp that anyone, truly invested in the event, would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. The most notable aspect of the camp being that the staff took an obvious and personal interest in the growth that each camper underwent. Rather than applying a one size fits all policy to each lab, the entirety of the staff worked tirelessly to evaluate each camper on an individual level and apply the necessary drills and tactics in order to help us progress in our respective areas. This growth not only encompassed our skill within debate, but our ability to find confidence in both our arguments and ourselves. Before attending the UTNIF PF camp, I had become too focused and in some regards worried about the minutia of the technical aspect of debate, as well as, my ability to fulfill my role in the activity. However, following my time at UTNIF I noticed that in-round strategy became easier for me to execute allowing the entire narrative of the round to fall into place. My confidence also continued to soar, as I remembered the words and advice of my instructors, allowing me to win rounds and advance in tournaments that I had never envisioned I would be able to before. UTNIF PF is not only a remarkable camp for debate skill development, it is a family as well.”
- Victoria Menendez, Saint Mary’s Hall (UTNIF 2018)
Our 2019 Public Forum Staff
Our Public Forum Curriculum Director is Joseph Uhler of Westlake High School in Austin. This is Joseph’s third year at Westlake and his students have already earned multiple Tournament of Champions bids in PF. Joseph was previously the Director of Forensics at Anderson High School 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 2011, one of Joseph’s students won TFA State in Congressional Debate (House), and in 2015, one of Joseph’s students won TFA State in Original Oratory. One of his Public Forum teams 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.
Kirsten Nash is the director of forensics at Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville, Texas, where she has been coaching for 13 years. Under Kirsten’s leadership, the Hendrickson team has won 5 UIL State Championships, had a TFA State Champion Speaker in Policy Debate, and multiple state finalists and NSDA and TOC elimination round participants in PF, CX, Extemp, Congress, Oratory, DI and World School’s Debate. The team was awarded as a NSDA School of Honor in 2016. Nash has served as the President of the Texas Forensic Association and is currently the TFA Archivist and on the NSDA Heart of Texas District Committee.
Ilana Cuello-Wolffe debated for The Dalton School for three years. She qualified to the Tournament of Champions her junior and senior year, reaching out rounds her senior year. She reached elimination rounds at many national circuit tournaments, including the New York Invitational, Princeton, Harvard, Ridge, and many others. She received many speaker awards including third speaker at Princeton, Ridge, Villiger, and top speaker at the Byram Hills Invitational and the Westridge Round Robin She qualified for the NSDA National Tournament her senior year, and is very excited to teach at UNTIF this summer!
Andrew Kamen debated for Bronx high School of Science and currently serves as co-captain of his team. Andrew has qualified three times to the NYSFL State Championship and the Tournament of Champions. This year, he has also qualified to the NCFL Grand National Tournament. During his senior year, Andrew was a quarterfinalist at the NYSFL State Championship and a semifinalist in the Silver Division at the Tournament of Champions. Andrew looks forward to working at UTNIF and is excited to meet the next generation of talented debaters.
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.