What We Do

The forensics program at Truman State University offers a broad range of events for student participation. Students can participate in NFA Lincoln-Douglas Debate and any of the eleven NFA individual speaking events (IEs) offered. Many of our students cross-over and participate in both debate and IEs, but often choose to specialize in one area.


Students compete in intercollegiate tournaments on college campuses across the country. These tournaments normally consist of four to six preliminary rounds of debate and two preliminary rounds of IEs, followed by an appropriate number of elimination rounds based on the size of the tournament. Tournaments consist of multiple colleges and universities (generally at least ten…often many more) and dozens, if not hundreds, of individual competitors and coaches.

National Competition

Truman normally competes in one national competition each year–the National Forensic Association (NFA). In years however, we have traveled students to other national competitions, including Pi Kappa Delta and the prestigious Interstate Oratory Contest (IOA). Truman participates in these additional tournaments when its schedule, funding, and tournament location permits.


Truman has participated in a number of outreach efforts, including judging at high school tournaments, sponsoring a summer camp, hosting tournaments, leading workshops and in-services for teachers, authoring topic papers for the national high school topic selection process, and providing trainers for international debate programs, such as the FLTRP Cup in Beijing.

Campus Exhibitions

Truman Forensics has a long tradition of campus exhibitions. Several exhibition debates are offered each year, exposing students to a publicly-accessible variation of the kinds of debates seen in intercollegiate tournaments. Individual events competitors often hold showcase events and present their work to speech classes as a way of reinforcing the work done there.