The Department of Communication Studies sponsors a Forensics Team. For more information contact Sara Gronstal at email@example.com or 217.581.8326. Follow the Speech Panthers' season on Facebook here.
The team performs in three major categories: Public Address, Interpretation, and Limited Prep. Public Address events are similar to speeches you might have prepared for a class: informatives, persuasives, speeches to entertain. They last around 8 to 10 minutes, and are manuscript, meaning you write them out word for word, and then memorize them. Interpretation events are kind of like acting. In this category you find poetry, prose, drama and duo (which is like drama, but with a partner). You take someone else's work, and perform it. Usually, these are works by newer authors that your audience might not have heard of. Limited preparation events are events where you draw a topic at the tournament, and then have a short amount of time to prepare and present a speech.
As a coach for the team, in addition to traveling with the team, I help the team prepare for competitions. I do this by helping students find topics and pieces for performance, and also assist in the writing process as students are composing their speeches. I don't write speeches for students, but I will help you edit them, and find resources. I also like to have at least one weekly individual coaching appointment with students so that we can touch base on their progress on speeches, do any edits, tweak performances, and that kind of thing.
How much time you devote to speech is up to you. Some students might choose to go to only one tournament a semester and only focus on doing 1 to 2 events really well. Other students might choose to travel quite a bit more, and take on 5 to 6 events. Your commitment level is determined by you.
The Speech Team is a nationally competitive team that travels to competitions at other universities and colleges (mainly we travel to close tournaments in Illinois and Indiana as there are quite a few around here). Students on the team prepare speeches to deliver (for the majority of events, you'll have the same speech all year long). Students compete in small preliminary rounds, and then the top 6 students advance to a final round. Most tournaments take place over the course of one day, but we often travel to Swing tournaments, which are two tournaments held on the same campus, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
At the end of a semester, you can apply for a scholarship for a tuition waiver for the semester (for example, in December, you'd apply for a waiver for your Fall tuition). These scholarships are competitive, and are awarded to the students who have shown the most time commitment and involvement in the team. The basic requirements for application are as follows:
Up to 8 scholarships are currently available, with each scholarship covering up to 12 credit hours worth of tuition.