Frequently Asked Speech and Debate Questions

Any full-or part-time student in good academic standing (at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average) who has completed SPEE 101 is eligible to participate. No previous experience in speech and debate competition is necessary. Of course, any high school or college experience you've had in speech and/or debate will be of benefit to you, but you can obtain all of the training you will need to be successful in competition by enrolling in our program.

Speech and debate sharpens your ability to research and analyze problems, think and listen critically, express your thoughts clearly and fluently and better understand public affairs. It increases your confidence and poise and provides constant intellectual stimulation. You will have opportunities to compete against some of the best students from other colleges and universities, to travel, and to develop friendships with other outstanding students at Clark College and across the nation. Many executives, lawyers, teachers, public relations officers, radio and television personalities, and prominent public figures testify to the benefits of their forensics participation. Many of them found life-long friends through their involvement. They also gained valuable skills for use in their careers.

Clark College has a full selection of competitive events available. Competition in novice or junior divisions can challenge the beginner. Senior division competition can challenge even the best-prepared and brightest competitor. Clark College competes in parliamentary Debate (impromptu style team debating) as well as a full range of individual events including informative speaking, persuasive speaking, extemporaneous speaking, impromptu speaking, after dinner speaking, poetry interpretation, prose interpretation, dramatic interpretation, and duo interpretation. See the events link for further event descriptions.

Speech and debate participants travel mainly in the Northwest, competing against University of Alaska, Carroll College, Clackamas Community College, Gonzaga University, Lewis and Clark College, Mt. Hood Community College, University of Oregon, Portland Community College, Portland State University, Willamette University, Whitman College, and others. On occasion, participants also travel to California, Arizona, Florida, and other "exotic" sites such as Rome, Italy for the International Forensics Tournament.

Yes. By registering for SPEE 171, 172, or 173, you can receive credit for your participation in speech and debate. Registration is required for all members of the Clark Speech and Debate team. Students may earn up to 18 hours of humanities credit for participation in speech and debate for two years. Additionally, full- and half-time scholarships are available for those students who qualify.

The time you invest in speech and debate depends on how much you want to do and at what level. If you want to do well in many events at a national level, you will have to spend a great deal of time. Regular class meetings, practice debates, research, and practice speeches are held regularly. Four tournaments are scheduled for each quarter you compete. This is time well spent as an intellectual experience that reinforces coursework. Thousands of students have distinguished themselves in forensics while maintaining their grades, their social lives, and other activities that interested them.

Speech and debate schedules are planned around most classes to the greatest extent possible. While most professors are sympathetic to missing classes for good cause, class attendance is the individual student's responsibility. Students must maintain contact with their professors when forced to miss class for speech competition and arrange make-up work before leaving.

The only cost to you as a speech and debate participant is in time, effort, and personal debate or speech materials. Clark College pays entry, travel, hotel, and food expenses for all tournaments.