Speech and Debate
The McKendree University speech and debate team is a nationally-ranked team that competes
in intercollegiate tournaments across the nation. Our competitive focus is on parliamentary
debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, and individual events.
McKendree is perennially among the top ten schools in parliamentary debate and is one of two schools in the nation to qualify four teams to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence from 2011-2013, including the top-ranked team in the nation in 2011. Parliamentary debate is a two-on-two debate event that involves a new topic for every round of competition. It emphasizes breadth of knowledge, public speaking, logic, and teamwork. Parliamentary debate is distinct from other types of debate offered at the high school level, though many high school debaters have come to McKendree and have been very successful. However, many students have been successful with no previous high school debate background.
The team also competes in Lincoln-Douglas debate and took 2nd place in Lincoln-Douglas at the National Forensic Association championship tournament in 2011. Lincoln-Douglas debate emphasizes research, depth of knowledge, public speaking, and organization. While it is structurally similar to Lincoln-Douglas debate in high school, it utilizes a policy resolution. Lincoln-Douglas debate at McKendree is growing and, like parliamentary debate, involves students who have high school experience and those who are new to debate.
Finally, we participate in individual events. McKendree has had a number of students qualify for the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament, including a student who took 6th place in communication analysis in 2008. Individual events includes interpretation, limited preparation, and public speaking events, similar to the schedule of events on the high school level. Interpretation events include prose, poetry, drama, duo, and programmed oral interpretation. Limited preparation events include extemporaneous and impromptu speaking. Public speaking events include persuasion, informative, communication analysis, and after dinner speaking. For more information about parliamentary debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, or individual events, check out our links page.
Between practices, team meetings, and tournaments (which typically start on Friday and end on Sunday), the speech and debate team does require a significant investment of time from its members. However, the rewards of participation more than make up for the time invested. In addition to traveling around the country, team members gain invaluable skills, including critical reasoning, organization, and public speaking that are valued in virtually any profession. Like members of athletic teams, you also have the honor of representing McKendree. But, perhaps most importantly, team members have a great deal of fun.
If you are interested in joining the speech and debate team, either as a current or prospective McKendree student, feel free to email Joe Blasdel (Director of Speech and Debate), Brent Nicholson (Debate Coach), or Stephen Hagan (Speech Coach).