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                                                                Office                     Telephone                  email                                                     

Director of Forensics

Dr. Mary Trejo                                    Cotton 102         747-5431                              

Graduate Teaching Assistant
Jessica Niemiec                                 Cotton 102         747-5010                                       



Forensics training at UTEP is an outstanding educational experience that benefits the student, the university, and the community.  The enduring legacy of forensics training in Debate, Public Speaking and Oral Interpretation of Literature is the ability to conceptualize and communicate ideas clearly, effectively, and with lasting resonance.  The rigorous academic emphasis of forensics training serves the student and the university because it complements that offered in other academic programs and helps to produce better educated students who are more likely to succeed in undergraduate and graduate university studies in all fields. 

Further, the contribution of an academically oriented and rigorously ethical forensics program to its sponsoring university lies also in its enhancement of the good reputation of that institution, for intercollegiate forensic competition is unique in that it provides a traditional and well recognized medium for measurement and comparison of a university's academic excellence.  Forensics tournaments, which may be likened to classroom laboratory experiences in communication, have the virtue of being public events, with a great potential for generating positive publicity for the university. 

The impact of forensic training on UTEP students is both positive and powerful.  Forensics is often a route to better grades, increased motivation for success, and refinement of skills for success in college; a majority of our students go on to graduate school or other advanced training.  Forensics training serves not only our campus but also the community in that it is an historic and recognized pathway to success in business and in public life.  It is an important goal of the UTEP Forensics Program to prepare its students in the best way possible to become the fine future teachers, administrators, and leaders who will empower the local, national, and world communities in years to come.





All students enrolled in Forensics Practicums 2201 and 2202 are encouraged to submit applications for financial aid each semester.  Financial assistance is awarded in compliance with stated policies and after consultation between instructors.  UTEP Forensics offers equal opportunities to all students.  To apply for assistance:

(1)        Write a letter of application for aid addressed to Dr. Mary Trejo, Director of Forensics, UTEP.

(2)        Include a resume or list of achievements, both in forensics and other areas.

(3)        Include all college transcripts; if you are a first-term freshman, high school transcripts are required.

(4)        Fill out and include the UTEP Forensics Program Service Award Documentation Form

(5)        Also remember: if you submit formal applications to the UTEP Scholarship Office and the Office of Student Financial Aid, include photocopies of these applications in your application to Dr. Trejo.



It is the responsibility of each person selected to represent UTEP as a member of the UTEP Forensics Team to be aware of and in full compliance with all policies on ethical competition and appropriate behavior, including UTEP team policies, University regulations, and rules and guidelines set out by national forensics organizations.  Team coaches may be consulted for guidance.









 Forensics classes are each scheduled to meet once a week for a total of fifteen scheduled class meetings for the semester.  Missing one class represents missing one week of instruction and work.  While zero absences are desirable, no more than two absences will be excused without penalty.  Those hoping to earn service awards may have no unexcused absences.  After the first two absences, each successive absence will result in the lowering of the semester grade by one letter, or the coach may choose to exercise the faculty drop procedure.  Reasonable excuses covering unavoidable absences which are due to causes which are serious in nature and are clearly documented will be reviewed and decided on a case-to-case basis by the Director of Forensics.



Although the primary focus of Forensics practicums is to attend and compete at intercollegiate tournaments, tournament competition is not necessary to earning course credit.  For those students who either do not qualify or do not wish to travel to tournaments, alternate assignments or modifications of existing assignments will be made on a case-to-case basis, if necessary.  Please see the discussion of the Competitive Forensics track and the Educational Forensics track, below.



Students choosing the Competitive Forensics track must try out for at least two intercollegiate tournaments during the semester.  Students who are ready to compete in multiple events will be given preference.  Three prepared events is the customary minimum for selection to attend tournaments.  In COMM 2201, the Debate class, either LD debate, parliamentary debate or team debate may be selected.  In the case of COMM 2202, the Individual Events class, the student must prepare at least three tournament events.

Students choosing the Educational Forensics track are not required to travel out of town.  Alternate practical and written assignments will be given.  Please see the specific assignments for COMM 2201 and 2202 stated below.  In addition, field trips to speech tournaments held at secondary schools in the local area will be assigned.  Students will be asked to observe and/or to judge in these tournaments.



While emphasizing excellence in competition, high academic achievement remains a top priority for UTEP Forensics.  At least a 2.5 grade point average is necessary to qualify to represent the university in intercollegiate competition.  A 3.0 GPA is required for Service Award eligibility.  In recognition of the demands of travel in terms of time and energy, students whose goal is tournament competition are urged not to enroll in more than twelve, or in exceptional cases, thirteen credit hours for the semester.  Tuesday-Thursday classes should be chosen over a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class schedule, as tournament travel requires missing Friday and some Monday classes.  When consulting the projected tournament schedule, remember to add travel days to the scheduled official dates listed.  As always, UTEP Forensics will pay for all travel and lodging and will issue a modest daily food stipend.



Each semester UTEP Forensics enrolls students who have a wide range of training in Forensics competition, from novices to experienced competitors.  Grading is, therefore, based on the judgment of the Director of Forensics in consultation with the Debate Coach and the Graduate Teaching Assistant.  They will evaluate each individual's learning and growth in the discipline throughout the semester.  By utilizing one-on-one evaluation, novices are not compared against experienced students and may earn high grades for progressing significantly at their own level.




The objective of this course is to prepare students to master the theories associated with argumentation and debate and to perform at competition level in intercollegiate debate.  Students will research and construct arguments and will be afforded practical lab experience in the oral presentation of debate as well as competitive experience for those whose level of preparation results in their selection for tournament travel.  Types of debate covered may include Lincoln-Douglas debate and Parliamentary Debate (NPDA).  Depending on the type or types of debate covered and on the mastery level of each student, individual assignments will be made by the debate coach.  Also, alternate assignments for those who do not debate in competition will be made on a case-to case basis.  Assignment requirements will be announced in writing after a period of evaluation for assessment of student mastery levels.



The objective of this course is to prepare students to perform at competition level in intercollegiate forensics individual events.  UTEP Forensics competes in the eleven standard events defined and sanctioned by the AFA-NIET.  These may be subdivided into three categories: Limited Preparation, including Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speaking; Public Address, including Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, After-Dinner Speaking and Communication Analysis; and Oral Interpretation of Literature, including Prose, Dramatic, Poetry, Dramatic Duo, and Program Oral Interpretation.



The minimum course requirement for COMM 2202, PRACTICUM IN FORENSIC INDIVIDUAL EVENTS is to prepare, practice, and perform at least three separate events.    Students will choose either the Competitive or Educational tracks.  Whether the Competitive or the Educational track is chosen, all students will be graded on the written and practical performance of these three events.  In addition, students in the Educational track will be required to complete the written Event Ideas Notebook assignment described below, while those on the Competitive track will base their entire grade on practical preparation of at least three events that they will enter into competition in at least three intercollegiate tournaments.


A.  Practical: Preparation/Practice/Performance of Three Events

            Required of all COMM 2202 students



            Choose in consultation with your coaches a minimum of three events to prepare and work with during the semester.  To promote training in public speaking skills necessary in interpretation as well as in speaking events, interpreters are required to prepare at least one public speaking event during the semester.  Similarly, public speakers are encouraged to attempt interpretation events, but the special nature of interpretive talent is recognized in that this recommendation is not mandatory.

            Your achievement in each event will earn 1/3 of your grade.  Each of the three events will be evaluated on two criteria: quality of text preparation including meeting deadlines and complying with recommendations for revision, 50%, and performance quality, including memorization in the case of public speaking, 50%.  If you earn a "leg" to the AFA-NIET in a given event, you will be considered to have earned an A in that event, and thus in that 1/3 of your grade.  Events in which you have not earned "legs" will be performed for a grade at the end of the semester.  The final evaluation date will be announced well in advance.

            Experienced competitors who choose to compete in more than three events may choose the three on which they wish to base their course grade.  Successful multiple event preparation may be rewarded in the selection of tournament competitors and in Service Awards.

            In order to enhance serious concentration on chosen events, Impromptu Speaking will not count as one of the three graded events unless an extensive Impromptu Speaking Notebook is submitted (an Impromptu notebook form will be provided to those interested).  Extemporaneous Speaking will constitute one event for 1/3 of an individual's grade only if extensive work has been done by that individual on the squad Extemp file.  Students should clear with coaches which events they will use for grading purposes.



B.  Written: Event Ideas Notebook

         May be required of COMM 2202 students on the Educational Forensics track

         The notebook assignment should be an ongoing assignment providing support for the practical preparation of events.  Materials should be handed in two weeks before the end of the semester, or earlier.

         Total= 12 entries.  The notebook should be typed.

            The notebook assignment is designed to focus attention on creative thinking in the preparation of contest events, as freshness and cleverness of ideas is often an important judging point.  Notebooks will be used to spark discussion in this and in future semesters.

            Grading: The notebook is graded Pass/Fail; submission of a completed notebook assignment is mandatory for those on the Educational track.  No grade other than Incomplete, in the case of illness or emergency (or F, if circumstances warrant) will be given in the course if the notebook is not submitted in complete form.  To fulfill the minimum assignment requirement, the notebook must contain twelve entries of at least two pages each with photocopies attached as described below.  Keep a photocopy, as your notebook becomes the property of the program.

            Submit a notebook with a minimum of twelve entries, six in the area of public speaking, six in the area of oral interpretation of literature.  A form will be provided on which to base your entries.  Typing is mandatory, and correct grammar and spelling should be used.

            Public Speaking entries: include a minimum of six entries thoroughly discussing six fresh ideas for speeches.  Each entry should include approximately two pages of explanation and at least one photocopied source indicating the potential of research in the topic.

            Oral Interpretation entries: include a minimum of six entries thoroughly discussing, in approximately two pages each, six fresh ideas for theme programs.  Very strong and carefully thought out cuttings of individual pieces may be submitted, but theme programs are emphasized in this notebook.  Attach complete photocopies including title pages and publication information pages of the literature used.  Common sense may be employed in the case of photocopying novels or other long material; in these cases, choose to photocopy the section of the literature pertinent to your cutting.  Photocopies should be marked clearly indicating your proposed cutting.

NOTE:  Request Dr. Trejo for sample forms which may be used for the Event Ideas Notebook.  Students may photocopy and use these pages, or they may choose to reproduce these forms on their computers.  If you plan to reproduce these forms on your computer, be sure to include the complete wording supplied in these master forms.

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