Summer Speech and Debate Institutes

Summer Speech and Debate Institutes


  • The 2018 application is available here.
  • The 2018 dates have been announced!  Public Address: July 15-20; Interp/Debate: July 22-27.  Application will be available by February 20.
  • In an effort to help more students attend camp, we will be offering a discount to schools who send us 5 or more Residential students.  Email Megan at if you are interested!  (some restrictions apply)
  • Congratulations to our campers on a fantastic 2017 IHSA State!  15 finalists and 2 champions!  Caw caw!  Photos from the weekend are posted to
  • We will be at IHSA State!  Come by our table to pick up your special edition of The Bird!
  • Congratulations to the 87 camp alumni who advanced 117 events to IHSA Sectionals!  We are cheering you on, Mini-Birds!

Apply to the Institute

The 2018 Institute runs from July 15-27.  For more information please email or phone at (309) 438-8447.

We are proudly the oldest and one of the most successful student organizations on campus. We have placed in the top 10 at the American Forensic Association and National Forensic Association national tournaments for nearly 20 years and have won national titles 6 times in our history.

The highest level of dedication and commitment to excellence can be found in our Institute.

Institute Philosophy

The emphasis of the Institute is on teaching both novice and experienced students the skills and theory necessary to successfully participate in interscholastic speech activities. The ISU Summer Speech Institute meets all the recommendations of the National Developmental Conference on Forensics. Every participant will have an opportunity to work with an experienced teacher in small classes to prepare and polish their events. The workshop has consistently maintained an instructor to student ratio of 1:4.

Institute Staff

The heart of a dynamic workshop is, of course, the staff. ISU has assembled an outstanding group of successful coaches from both high school and college ranks. We also welcome successful college competitors as faculty, along with ISU graduate student coaches and members of our nationally recognized ISU speech and debate teams.

Materials and Lectures

In addition to event coaching, the Institute offers workshops and activities to educate students on all aspects of speech competition including tournament etiquette, team building, and peer coaching. Students will return to their schools with packets of materials to share what they’ve learned with their teammates.

Schedule of Events 2018

  • Public Address Week: July 15-20
  • Oral Interpretation Week: July 22-27
  • Debate Week:  July 22-27
  • Two Week Intensive: July 15-27
  • Application Deadline: June 20

Event Details

Public Address Week

Extemporaneous Speaking, Radio Speaking, Special Occasion Speaking, Original Oratory, Original Comedy, Oratorical Declamation, Impromptu, and Informative (Expository) Speaking.

Oral Interpretation Week

Prose, Poetry, Dramatic Duet Acting, Humorous Duet Acting, Humorous Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Program Oral Interp, Duo, and more!


Lincoln-Douglas, Policy, Public Forum, Congress

Two Week Intensive

This option allows students to focus on preparation in Oratory, Special Occasion Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Comedy or Informative Speaking for two full weeks. This option is preferred for students who would like additional coaching in argumentation, revision and delivery.


Students will reside in double-occupancy rooms in the air-conditioned university residence halls. Sheets, towels, and pillows are provided. Mutual roommate requests are accepted. All meals from breakfast on Monday to lunch on Friday are provided. Housing for those attending both sessions will also include rooms on the weekend with staff supervision. We regard residence hall living as an important part of the summer experience.

Information on Hewett-Manchester Residence Halls

Information  on Watterson Dining Hall

Our professional staff members are responsible for the policies, conditions, security, and student supervision in the residence halls. Participants will also have access to Illinois State’s Milner Library, an excellent resource for researching public address speeches, interpretation events, and preparing extemporaneous speaking files. The structure, opportunities, and adult supervision available at ISU make it a first choice for concerned parents.

2018 Tuition and Fees

Residential students:

Includes tuition, room and meals.

$665 for one week; $995* for two weeks

* there is an additional $125 fee for residential students who stay the weekend.

We will offer a $300 discount to schools who send 5 or more residential students.  Some restrictions apply – contact for details (discount is per school NOT per student).

Commuter students:

Tuition only* – $290 for one week; $425 for two weeks

*an on-campus meal plan may be purchased separately.  Please communicate your desire for a meal plan at least 7 days prior to your registration date.


Information and applications for the Johnson Speech Scholarship will be available soon!

Partial scholarships are available to students who demonstrate financial need.  To apply for an institute scholarship, indicate your intent on the application and email / mail / fax:

  • A brief (1-2 page) essay explaining your forensics goals and how camp will help you achieve them (some explanation of your financial need would be helpful) and
  • a letter of support from current coach or guidance counselor.  Letters should either be emailed by the coach/counselor on a school email account, or be printed on school letter head and signed.

Scholarship materials received after June 20 will be considered based on availability of funds.

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