Speech and Debate

The UWF Speech and Debate team not only participates in various state, regional, and national events, but also hosts competitions on campus.

Speech and Debate
The 2013-2014 University of West Florida Speech and Debate Team.


The University of West Florida has been a premier spot for tournaments. The Speech and Debate team hosts the annual Marks Invitational Tournament where colleges from all over the country join the team for a weekend of warm weather and stimulating competition. The team also repeatedly hosted the Florida Intercollegiate Forensics Association State Championship as well as the Interstate Oratory Competition and the Novice National Championship Tournament.

Coaching Staff

Dr. Chris Fenner, Director of Speech and Debate

Chris Fenner, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of communication and Director of the UWF Speech & Debate program. He holds a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in Organizational Communication & Public Relations, and an M.A. and B.S. from Suffolk University. Dr. Fenner teaches courses within the public relations sequence and oversees the nationally ranked competitive speech and debate program. He conducts research primarily in the areas of public relations & forensic pedagogy, and the links between computer-mediated communication and persuasion. Prior to arriving at UWF, Dr. Fenner established a competitive speech team at Florida Southern College, where he coached students to 32 national titles. He also serves as the Vice President of the Florida Intercollegiate Forensic Association, and is an executive council member of the Novice National Forensic Association.

Whitney Tipton, Graduate Assistant

Whitney Tipton is a second year graduate assistant for the UWF Speech and Debate team. Before receiving her assistantship, she earned a bachelor's degree in Spanish at Carson-Newman College, and worked as an assistant property manager for Merion Realty. Whitney was a speech and debate competitor for eight years, garnering awards on the national, regional, and state levels. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Strategic Communication and Leadership, and serves on the UWF Graduate Council.