School of Communication & Media

Sailfish Debate & Forensics: About College Debate

Frequestly Asked Questions About College Debate:

How many classes are missed for travel? In our first year (2018-19) you will miss no more than six classes over the two semesters, and probably fewer. Since we are just getting underway, our travel schedule will depend on how quickly students can prepare for intercollegiate competition. Once the program is established, if you are selected as one of our most prepared competitors, you may miss up to twelve classes each year. Most tournaments occur from Saturday through Monday. This would require traveling on Friday and returning on Monday evening. We drive to any venue that is within 500 miles and fly to others that are further away. Students all receive written notices to provide to their professors when they are away for a tournament, which provides an excused absence for participation in a university-sponsored event.

Should I participate in debate during my freshman year? Definitely. The more experience you gain over your years at PBA, the more proficient you will be, the more tournaments you will likely do well in, and the more confident you will become on issues of vital national concern. Your skills as a speaker, especially as an extemporaneous speaker, will be honed to a high level and you will become well-spoken in nearly any context, from job interviews, to business presentations, community meetings, and as a member of the bar, should you choose law as a profession.

Can I be involved in other activities if I join debate? Yes. Few students at PBA devote all their time to a single student activity. Although debate and forensics activity is time intensive, there is time for involvement in such activities as bible studies, workship, worship activities, student government, even sports, although this would require careful planning and prioritization.

What other things can I do in debate besides travel to tournaments? Although the focus of the debate and forensics program at PBA is preparation and participation in tournament activities, we also plan to demonstrate to other students the value of public debate on controversial policy issues by staging on-campus activities in both public speaking and competitive debate.

Can I receive college credit for debate participation? Yes! You may receive up to eight college credits, one for each semester of participation in the program. These would be general electives unless you are a major in the Communication program. Then you can count three credits toward a requirement in the major, and another three credits as electives in the major. The remaining two credits would be general electives.

What if I have further questions? Contact Dr. Robert Fortner at

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