Alumnus and former debate team member Dylan Brugman will transition into the position of director of forensics in fall 2015.
Brugman, of Aurora, Colorado, was on the team for three years while double majoring in political science and sociology. Now, he is currently finishing his master’s degree in communication.
Brugman said he enjoyed being on the debate team because it provided a competitive outlet.
“I was never really good at sports, so I liked debating because it had the same competitive nature as sports, but it was something I could actually participate in,” Brugman said. “For me, it was a competitive outlet that didn’t involve me getting beat up all the time.”
Dena Counts, the current director of forensics, will transition into the position of director of the ACU Speaking Center. Counts, who just completed her seventh year as director of forensics, said she is excited about taking on the new position.
“I’m looking forward to new challenges,” she said. “One of the things that I enjoy doing is public speaking, so I’m looking forward to working with different departments and their presentation needs and also running some seminars out of the Speaking Center on public speaking for the college and the community. I’m really looking forward to a different challenge.”
Counts said she was ecstatic that Brugman was picked to be the new director of forensics because they share the same vision for the future of the debate team.
“Dylan definitely fit the job,” Counts said. “One of the nice things about Dylan is that he already has credibility with the team and he has a similar vision for what we’re doing, so there won’t be major changes in how things are run, and that will be nice for the students.”
Counts reminisced on her first year as debate team coach and how the team has grown significantly in both quantity and quality of debate skills.
“I came in and the team was pretty much dead with only one returning student, so we had to start with a group of freshmen my first year,” Counts said.
The team now has 10 members. One set of partners from the team were ranked fourth in the nation this year while the team as a whole placed 20th at nationals out of roughly 800 teams.
Although the debate team is not widely known throughout campus, it is an opportunity for students to strengthen their speaking skills. The team travels once a month to debate competitions all around the country.
As excited as she is about her new position, Counts said she will miss the community she has created with the debate team.
“I’ll miss the relationships I’ve built with the speech and debate team, however, I’ll have to get that through different ways at the Speaking Center,” Counts said.
Brugman said the debate team is always looking for fresh faces and perspectives.
“We let anybody come and try out if they want to do it and they’re competitive and they work hard,” Brugman said. “We travel once a month, and we go all over the country, so it’s good. It gets you out of Abilene for a bit.”
To learn more or to try out for the debate team, e-mail Dena Counts at firstname.lastname@example.org.