Publication Date

12-2012

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Randall Capps (Director), Dr. Cecile Garmon, Dr. Robert Owen

Degree Program

Educational Leadership

Degree Type

Doctor of Education

Abstract

Each year, thousands of college students participate in forensics (competitive speech and debate). Despite previous studies that identify numerous benefits to forensics participation, the activity is often eliminated from college campuses due to financial constraints. Although previous literature identifies the benefits of forensics participation to competitors, these studies do not address the lasting impact of college forensics participation on the careers of former competitors.

This exploratory study sought to identify the forensics outcomes that former competitors felt are used most frequently in their current careers, as well as the amount of emphasis forensics programs are placing on teaching these particular skills to students. The study also sought to determine the level of agreement between former participants and coaches/directors of forensics about which skills students will use most frequently once the competitive experience ends.

One hundred twenty-one former competitors provided responses, as did 33 coaches/directors of forensics. The data analysis revealed that coaches/directors of forensics and former competitors agreed on the importance of most survey items. Additionally, the analysis revealed that most forensics programs seem to be teaching students the majority of the skills they will need in their future careers. However, the analysis also revealed that forensics programs are directing some emphasis at outcomes that are not very useful to students once they enter the workforce. analysis also revealed that forensics programs are directing some emphasis at outcomes that are not very useful to students once they enter the workforce.

Additional findings revealed differences between the value placed on certain outcomes by former debaters versus the value to former individual-events-only competitors. Also, the length of time since a former participant last competed in forensics resulted in a variation of responses for some of the outcomes.

Disciplines

Communication | Other Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies