The Howard Payne University Speech and Debate Team–Student Speaker Bureau–is a group of students from all majors and disciplines at HPU who compete at intercollegiate speech and debate tournaments, host our own high school UIL speech and debate workshops, adjudicate elementary, middle and high school UIL tournaments, and emcee HPU and area public events. We are members of the National Christian College Forensics Association (NCCFA), the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA), the American Forensics Association (AFA), the National Forensics Association (NFA), and the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA). The team also competes in World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) tournaments and the International Public Debate Association (IPDA).
The Importance of Competitive Speech and Debate
Competitive speech and debate is central to the education mission of our university–preparing students to be of service to others and functional participants in a democratic society. “Let your speech always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col. 4:6) Students compete in 11 individual events, NPDA, WUDC, and IPDA debates.
The purpose of competitive speech and debate is to improve students’ abilities by developing strong public speaking/performance skills, creating a positive team atmosphere, maintain healthy competitive Christian attitudes and respectively representing Howard Payne University. Students can obtain course credit for competitive speech activities by enrolling in COM 1111 Student Speaker Bureau: Speech and Debate.
Who can be a member? Tryouts are held each semester for any student who is in good academic standing with Howard Payne University. Students from any major are invited to audition. Auditions and acceptance onto the team are prerequisites for enrolling in COM 1111 Student Speaker Bureau: Speech and Debate. Each student on SSB receives a scholarship commensurate with experience and level of competition.
When does the Speech/Debate season start? Competitions generally start in September and run through early April.
Where does the Forensics Team travel? The HPU speech and debate team attends 3-4 tournaments each semester including the Oxford Inter-Varsity Debate Tournament in Oxford, England, in the fall and the National Christian College Forensics Invitational held each spring.
Students compete in the following events:
Individual events: persuasive speaking, informative speaking, extemporaneous speaking, impromptu speaking, poetry interpretation, prose interpretation, communication analysis, after-dinner speaking, program oral interpretation, and dramatic duo
Debate: NPDA, IPDA, WUDC