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Volume 37, Number 1 of the NFA Journal is now published online

posted Dec 9, 2020, 4:03 PM by NFA Forensics   [ updated Dec 9, 2020, 4:04 PM ]

Dear NFA Colleague:


I am very pleased to tell you that the Fall 2020 edition of the National Forensic Journal (vol. 37, no. 1) is now available.  You can access this issue (as well as all past issues of the journal) at

This issue is dedicated to the Interstate Oratorical Contest.  In a series of six articles, it explores the speeches presented at - and some logistical details of - the contest in the 1800s, 1940s, 1960s, 1970s, 1990s, and 2000s.  It explores connections between the speeches presented and the cultural contexts in which they were delivered, and examines a number of ways in which various speech components (topic selection, organization, use of supporting materials, style, delivery, and so on) have evolved over time.  We are extremely excited to publish this issue, and hope that you will enjoy learning more about the history of the oldest surviving forensics competition in the country.  

Thank you for your continuing interest in and support of The National Forensic Journal.  We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!


Richard Paine, Emily Cramer, and Elora Venchus

Editorial Team


Fall 2020 Newsletter Now Available

posted Nov 21, 2020, 2:47 PM by Megan Koch

This Newsletter Contains the Following Information:
  • 2020-21 Membership Renewal

  • Call to Fill Vacant Council Positions 

  • Call for Committee Members 2020-2021 

  • NFA Panels at NCA

  • Fall 2020 General Business Meeting

  • 2020 Performances of Distinction

  • 2021 NFA National Tournament

  • 2021 Hall of Fame Nominations

 2020-2021 Membership Renewal

Typically member schools renew their memberships for the coming competition season at the previous year’s National Tournament.  The cancellation of the 2020 National Tournament meant that the process for renewing memberships began back in May, and is still in progress.   Member schools receive copies of that year’s final round video recordings*, access to the National Forensic Journal, a vote on any current ballots and may participate in committees and run for Council positions.  We understand that many schools are experiencing a great deal of changes and are still dealing with uncertainty, so are asking all schools to confirm that their information is correct, and that their memberships are up to date.  Please click here to purchase, renew or correct your membership.  Contact us if you need to request a new invoice to complete the process.


*All schools who were members in 2019-20 and/or 2020-21 will receive links to the 2020 Performances of Distinction Archive.

Call to Fill Vacancies on the National Council

Due to position changes on the National Council, we are seeking nominations to complete the term of At-Large Representative previously held by Chris Outzen, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  This position is up for re-election in Spring 2021.   

Dr. Richard Paine has retired from his position at North Central College and from his position as National Forensic Journal Editor.  We are so grateful to Dr. Paine for his years of service and for his thoughtful and thorough work in this role.  His retirement means that we are seeking a new Journal Editor - this is an appointed position with an indefinite term length.  

Nominations and self-nominations for At-Large Representative and interest in the Journal Editor position should be emailed to Megan Koch at

Call for Committee Members 2020-21

NFA works well because it’s members serve as committee volunteers.  Each NFA committee is composed of at least one NFA council member and 3-5 NFA member volunteers.  We are looking for volunteers for 10 NFA Standing Committees and the 5 NFA Ad Hoc Committees.  Any coach (DOF, ADOF, Graduate Student) from an NFA member school or anyone holding an NFA individual membership can serve.  Descriptions can be found on our website - please email if you are interested in joining a committee.

NFA Standing Committees

  • Awards Committee

  • Constitution Committee

  • Elections Committee

  • Ethics Committee

  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Committee

  • Extemporaneous Committee

  • Hall of Fame Committee

  • Impromptu Committee

  • Research Committee

  • Social Media Committee

 NFA Ad Hoc Committees

  • Ad Hoc Committee on Student Wellness

  • Ad Hoc Committee to create survey on the relationship perception of NFA LD/IE

  • Ad Hoc Committee on Judge Training

  • Ad Hoc Committee on Program Promotion

  • Ad Hoc Committee on On-Line Tournaments

 NFA Panels at NCA

As we kickoff the 2020 NCA Convention, we’d like to say thank you to all who submitted panels and papers and to our VP of Professional Relations, Dr. Nikki Freeman for all of her work to prepare for this unconventional convention.  Information on NFA panels and meetings can be found on our website.

Fall 2020 General Business Meeting

The Fall General Business Meeting will take place Saturday 11/21 at 12:00 Eastern (11:00 Central). 

 Meeting ID: 828 4109 8736

Passcode: NFAGBMF20

Please be aware of the following:

  • Participants must log in through their Zoom accounts; dial-in participation will not be allowed.

  • Make note of the passcode in the invitation - you’ll need it to enter the meeting.

  • To maintain an accurate attendance roster, please re-name yourself by your first and last name and affiliation.   Ex: Karen Morris - UWEC.    Unnamed or nicknamed participants will not be allowed into the meeting.

2020 NFA Performances of Distinction

The editing and captioning process is ongoing for the Performances of Distinction archive, but we expect links to be available within the next week.  If any students no longer wish for their videos to be part of the online archive they should contact as soon as possible.  Links will be emailed to the voting delegates of 2020 and 2021 member schools. 

2021 NFA National Tournament

At the most recent meeting of the National Council, the Tournament Director proposed and the council unanimously supported hosting the 2021 NFA Championship Tournament online.   The Tournament Committee expects that this tournament will be mostly synchronous and will make every effort to create a tournament that replicates the “Nationals” experience.  Further guidance on potential restrictions placed on performers at the National Tournament (lights, audience, backdrops, etc.) will be released soon and should be expected to be in line with the restrictions developed by NSDA.  We want to express our sincere gratitude to the University of Illinois Chicago and their director Vance Pierce for taking on the initial work to host NFA 2021 - we hope we will see an end to the pandemic and a return to your beautiful campus soon.


One question that is on everyone’s mind given the announcements of our fellow forensics organizations is whether or not there will be any changes to qualifications.  After reviewing the NFA By-laws, the National Council determined that there was no need to make changes in order to accept qualifications from online tournaments.  Therefore, qualifications may be earned at either synchronous or asynchronous tournaments so long as they meet the requirements of By-Laws Article III (number of schools, number of entries, number of ballots, etc.).  Directors may forward “questionable” entries - or any entry that cannot be verified using the NFA Results Database maintained at Speechwire - to the Tournament Committee for certification.

2021 Hall of Fame Nominations

As we close out 2020 we are looking forward to inducting the newest class to the NFA Hall of Fame.   The Hall of Fame honors those students that made an impact while competing in forensics and continued to make an impact after leaving the activity.  Areas to consider are: forensics competitive excellence, forensics community citizenship, and forensics ambassadorship.  Nominations may be submitted by anyone who would like to recognize an NFA alumnus - the deadline for the NFA Hall of Fame has been extended to January 15, 2021. Details, list of past recipients and the nomination form can be found here.   

2020 Performances of Distinction

posted Jun 24, 2020, 12:01 PM by NFA Forensics

Greetings friends!


I am so excited to share with you the results of our NFA Performances of Distinction archive project! We know nothing can replace the magic of the National Championship Tournament we lost this year, but the video submissions in this archive are a beautiful tribute to the dedication, passion, and advocacy of our students. I am touched by the messages that will be preserved here.


We received 128 video submissions from 21 member schools. These videos were an amazing sample of the brilliant performances you worked on all year long, and it was truly a joy to see the finished results. Thank you to all the novice and graduating seniors who shared your messages with us one more time!


I need to offer my heartfelt gratitude to outgoing NFA senior student representative Craig Heyne (Illinois State University) for proposing the Performances of Distinction archive. We owe you quite a debt for this fantastic idea. A huge thanks also goes out to all of the people who chaired review committees: Karen Morris, Kevin Minch, Nikki Freeman, Chris Outzen, Sadé Barfield, John Boyer, Stephen Hagan, Ben Walker, Dawn Lowry, Lisa Roth, Megan Koch, and Chad Meadows. I appreciate your leadership as we worked to commemorate the end of the season in a new way. Thank you also to all of the people who answered the call and volunteered to serve on those review committees. It took the work of a village united to put together this tribute to our students, and our organization and activity are all the better for your contribution.


Below you will find the list of Performances of Distinction in all eleven NFA individual events and NFA-LD debate. The number of performances vary from event to event as did the number of entries. Some events had only senior submissions and that is why there are no novice performances of distinction chosen for that event. Congrats to those students whose performances were chosen for the Performances of Distinction archive!


You will also see that a Performance of Highest Distinction was chosen by each five-person event review committee. What amazing work by those students whose performances have been given highest distinction designation in that event!  

In addition to recognizing the performances in all events, we also wanted to acknowledge the Performers of Highest Distinction, High Distinction, and Distinction. These performers not only demonstrated that they could excel in one of the events but in several events and even some across genres.  We celebrate these students!

Without further ado, please join me in congratulating these performers! 


After-Dinner Speaking Performance of Highest Distinction**

Daniel Altabet (George Mason University)

Varsity Performances of Distinction

Elizabeth Boone (University of Texas at Austin)

Brenna Fuhr (Bradley University)

Samuel Garcia (University of Texas at Austin)

 Faith LoPiccolo (Western Kentucky University)

Saeed Malami (Lafayette College)

 Nicole Yang (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)

Novice Performances of Distinction

Kevin Keyawa (California State University-Chico)



Dramatic Interpretation Performance of Highest Distinction**

Trijae (Bradley University)

Varsity Performances of Distinction

Danielle Castillo (University of Texas at Austin)

Cassie Edlund (Bradley University)

Craig Heyne (Illinois State University)

Faith LoPiccolo (Western Kentucky University)

Brianna Mier (University of Texas at Austin)

Jadah Morrison (Hastings College)

Emily Shepardson (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)

Jolie Sherman (Illinois State University)

Harry Steffenhagen (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)

Novice Performances of Distinction

Imani Butts (Ball State University)
    Mackenzie Joseph (Ohio University)


Duo Performance of Highest Distinction**  

Craig Heyne and Jolie Sherman (Illinois State University)

Performances of Distinction

Cassie Edlund and Josh Beckles (Bradley University)

Emily Shepardson and Dana Athmann (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)


Extemporaneous Speaking Performance of Highest Distinction**  

Nader Syed (University of Texas at Austin)

Varsity Performances of Distinction

Chris Mayer (Lafayette College)

Andrew Yohanan (Bradley University)

Novice Performances of Distinction·         

Carly Crotty (Belmont University)   

Mykayla Kuhn (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater)


Impromptu Performance of Highest Distinction**

Andrew Yohanan (Bradley University)

Varsity Performances of Distinction

John Henry (George Mason University)

Chris Mayer (Lafayette College)

Nader Syed (University of Texas at Austin)

Novice Performances of Distinction

 Carly Crotty (Belmont University)

 Mykayla Kuhn (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater)

 Allison Schwarz (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)




Informative Speaking Performance of Highest Distinction**

Dinah Chukwu (University of Texas at Austin)

Varsity Performances of Distinction

Ben Jensen (University of Utah)

Novice Performances of Distinction

 Parker Abrell (Ball State University)

Mackenzie Joseph (Ohio University)


Persuasion Performance of Highest Distinction**

John Henry (George Mason University)

Varsity Performances of Distinction

Brenna Fuhr (Bradley University)

Natalie Wellman (Concordia University, Irvine)

Novice Performances of Distinction

Imani Butts (Ball State University)

Allison Schwarz (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)


Poetry Performance of Highest Distinction**

Saeed Malami (Lafayette College)

Varsity Performances of Distinction

Elizabeth Boone (University of Texas at Austin)

Brenna Fuhr (Bradley University)

Nathan Navratil (Hastings College)

Trijae (Bradley University)

Novice Performances of Distinction      

Andrea Rivera (Lafayette College)


Program Oral Interpretation Performance of Highest Distinction**

Faith LoPiccolo (Western Kentucky University)

Varsity Performances of Distinction

      Craig Heyne (Illinois State University)

Cassie Edlund (Bradley University)

Briana Mier (University of Texas at Austin)


Prose Performance of Highest Distinction**

Trijae (Bradley University)

Varsity Performances of Distinction

Danielle Castillo (University of Texas at Austin)

Alli Kennon (Hastings College)

Faith LoPiccolo (Western Kentucky University)

Saeed Malami (Lafayette College)

Emily Shepardson (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)

Novice Performances of Distinction

Parker Abrell (Ball State University)


Rhetorical Criticism Performance of Highest Distinction**

Saeed Malami (Lafayette College)

Varsity Performances of Distinction

 Brenna Fuhr (Bradley University)

John Henry (George Mason University)

Craig Heyne (Illinois State University)

Alli Kennon (Hastings College)

Sabrina Savoie (University of Texas at Austin)

Novice Performances of Distinction

        Grace Lach (Ohio University)



NFA-LD Performer of Highest Distinction**

Alex Rivera (Western Kentucky University)


Senior Debates of Distinction:

Zach Thornhill  (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) v. 

Alex Rivera (Western Kentucky University)*

Ravi Prasad (University of the Pacific) v. 

Chris Mayer (Lafayette College)*


Novice Debate of Distinction:

Andrea Rivera (Lafayette College)* v. 

Estefany Torres (University of the Pacific)

*winning the round

Performer of Highest Distinction  

Saeed Malami (Lafayette College)

Performers of High Distinction

 Craig Heyne (Illinois State University) 

Brenna Fuhr (Bradley University)

Faith LoPiccolo (Western Kentucky University)

Trijae (Bradley University)

Performers of Distinction

Cassie Edlund (Bradley University)

John Henry (George Mason University)

Chris Mayer (Lafayette College)

Emily Shepardson (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)

Now that our Performances of Distinction have been selected, the video submissions will go to production so we can enter content warnings and closed-captions for each video. We appreciate your patience while this work occurs, and we look forward to sharing the finished video links with you early in the Fall semester. 

I hope you all are staying safe, well, and more committed than ever to advocacy through performance. It has been an honor to serve as your Tournament Director, and I look forward to great things from our organization and activity. 


Justin J. Rudnick, Ph.D.

Outgoing Tournament Director

National Forensic Association

Change in NFA Leadership

posted May 28, 2020, 8:09 AM by Karen Morris

            From Karen Morris, NFA President

As many of you know, I accepted a teaching only position at my institution beginning in the Fall of 2020 and am stepping out of the role of Director of Forensics at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  My plan was to finish out my last three-year term as NFA President (2018-2021) and transition to NFA Past President.  The best laid plans…

 UWEC Forensics was so incredibly fortunate to have been able to conduct a DOF search before institutions closed down and we were thrilled when Chris Outzen was offered and accepted the position of UWEC DOF.  As you know, Chris Outzen is completing his first year of a two year term as an NFA At-Large Representative (2019-2021). 

 Per the NFA Constitution, I will be stepping out of the NFA President role a year earlier than I expected and moving into the advisory role of Past President so that one school will not have two elected officials on the council.  My vacating this role creates a need for a one year appointment for the NFA President to fulfill the last year of my term.  In consultation with the NFA Council, the choice to fulfill this vacancy was obvious and unanimous. I am thrilled to announce that Megan Koch has graciously accepted the NFA Council’s invitation to serve as NFA President for the 2020-2021 academic year.  This change in leadership begins on July 1st.  Megan’s first duty as NFA president will be to announce the 2020-2021 NFA-LD Resolution.

 I hope that you will reach out to Megan Koch and let her know she has your support in this role.  This next year will certainly be full of change and she will need your support as she leads us through the unknowns we will encounter.  Megan has my support and I am excited about my new role of advisor. 

 My moving into the role of NFA Past President causes a shift in another NFA position. Larry Schnoor’s tenure on the council comes to an end as I move into the past president position. The 2020-2021 academic year will the first time in 35 years that Larry Schnoor will not be serving on the NFA Council.  Should you be so inclined, an email to Larry Schnoor thanking him for his many years of service to NFA would come as a delightful surprise.  

 More news to come, I’m sure…


NFA Ballot Results

posted May 28, 2020, 8:02 AM by Karen Morris   [ updated May 28, 2020, 8:06 AM ]

Results from May 15th Ballot

Ninth Semester of Eligibility Proposal

This proposal would allow all students in the next few years to gain back the 2020 Nationals they lost and give them a semester to qualify for it.

  • Yes - 46 votes
  • No - 3 votes
  • 49 delegates voted.  26 votes needed to pass.  Proposal Passes


Change I.E. Rating Points to 1-30 Proposal

This proposal would not only change the I.E. rating points on the ballot to match the 1-30 points that NFA-LD uses, but would also provide a legend for the    1-30 system.

  • Yes - 40 votes
  • No - 9 votes
  • 49 delegates cast votes.  26 votes needed to pass.  Proposal Passes


NFA-LD Topic Area Rotation Proposal

This proposal would require that the ''topic area'' for potential NFA-LD resolutions be rotated every season on a four-year cycle while still allowing substantial topic experimentation.

  • Yes - 39 votes
  • No - 9 votes
  • 48 delegates cast votes.  25 votes needed to pass.  Proposal Passes

NFA-LD Topic Process Reform Proposal

This proposal overhauls the NFA-LD topic process to reflect current de jure practices and the increased availability of online research. It ensures a narrowed and more focused process in order to achieve educational and competitive goals. It also shifts voting to ranked choice voting and away from weighted preference voting, simplifying the system and making it more democratic.

  • Yes - 44 votes
  • No - 3 votes
  • 47 delegates cast votes.  24 votes needed to pass.  Proposal Passes


National Developmental Conference (NDC)-Individual Events (IE) Webinar Series Announced

posted Apr 17, 2020, 8:33 AM by Karen Morris   [ updated Apr 23, 2020, 2:52 PM ]

 6th NDC-IE Conference initially scheduled to be held in Normal, Illinois on July 31-August 2, 2020 has been re-conceptualized into the NDC-IE WEBINAR SERIES

Mark your calendars to zoom with us for two important webinar events.  

NDC-IE COVID-19 Coaches Webinar- May 1, 2020  

NDC-IE Webinar Conference- June 19-20, 2020

For more information and to register:  CLICK HERE

NFA's COVID-19 Statement

posted Mar 9, 2020, 10:27 AM by Megan Koch

The Tournament Committee and National Council is aware of the risks and confounding factors surrounding the spread of COVID-19. At this point, we are expecting the National Forensic Association's championship tournament to be held as planned in Whitewater, Wisconsin. Should that change, we will alert the membership immediately. All drop fees for schools and their participants that have been incurred because they were limited by travel restrictions or illness after the March 30th registration deadline will be waived. The Tournament Committee and National Council will continue to monitor the travel and congregational risks of COVID-19.

For updated information pertaining to the virus and Wisconsin:…/resources-by-dise…/coronavirus

2019 NFA Video Links Released

posted Aug 30, 2019, 2:46 PM by Megan Koch   [ updated Mar 9, 2020, 10:29 AM ]

The 2019 videos are on YouTube and links were sent to voting delegates.  Please remember videos are for member schools only and should not be shared on public social media.   This year we added content warnings and closed captioning - please email if you need to correct a captioning error.  

Can I Join NFA?

If you are not currently a member of NFA, but would like to join so you can get the links to the videos, you can visit the NFA Membership Page to find information about joining NFA.  Any Individual or school can become a member of NFA--details can be found on the NFA membership page. 



LGBTQ+ Resources

posted Nov 26, 2018, 11:29 PM by Megan Koch

The EDI has prepared the following infographic  to assist LGBTQ+ competitors.  Thanks to Clayton Frankel (Bradley) for his assistance to the committee.  For a downloadable PDF of this graphic, visit the Equity Diversity and Inclusion info page.

2019 National Tournament Impromptu Schema

posted Nov 15, 2018, 3:56 PM by Megan Koch   [ updated Dec 10, 2018, 9:24 AM ]

Thank you to Impromptu Committee for their work in preparing the Impromptu Schema for the 2019 National Tournament.  To see the full schema description and examples for 2019, please click here.  To see examples used in outrounds of previous National Tournaments, please click here.

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