McDonald, Boge publish article on approach to coaching forensics

A Hastings College professor and a recent alumnus have published an article that outlines a modified exercise for forensics teams based on methods adopted by the Hastings College Forensics team, one of the top 10 teams in the country.

Andrew Boge 21
Andrew Boge ’18
Austin McDonald 1
Dr. Austin McDonald

Dr. Austin McDonald, Hastings College associate professor of communication studies and associate director of forensics, and Andrew Boge, a 2018 Hastings College graduate and current doctoral student at the University of Iowa, co-authored a pedagogical article titled “The Grid: A Long-Form Exercise in Forensic Peer Coaching” that was recently published in Discourse: The Journal of the Speech Communication Association of South Dakota.

The original idea behind “The Grid” evolved from Boge’s first year in college when he competed with the Gustavus Adolphus College forensics team. “We had a similar exercise at Gustavus, led by Kris Kracht and Hastings College alumna Cadi Kadlecek, whose methods encouraged team members to work with each other. When I transitioned to Hastings, we continued building on the skills we learned from Cadi and Kris,” said Boge.

“The Grid is an exercise that’s about getting college speakers to collaborate, to develop their work, and to eliminate singular dependence on a coach,” McDonald said. “It builds community, gives students opportunities to give and receive feedback, and reduces the chances of coach-student favoritism.”

Boge said the goal of the paper is to provide speech coaches and teams an exercise in collaborative coaching and building team culture. “The Grid article aims to demonstrate the benefits of peer-to-peer collaboration in public speaking contexts,” he said.

The co-authors are no strangers to this kind of work as they are past competitors and are now coaches of the Hastings College Forensics team. The two set out to more formally detail methods they learned from the Gustavus Adolphus team, how the exercise has served Hastings College’s Forensics team, and what it could do for other teams, McDonald said.

“It’s always exciting to find a larger academic venue for the work we do at Hastings College,” he said.

While McDonald and Boge didn’t study other teams for the article, the two have high expectations about The Grid’s impact.

“I hope this work encourages other forensics coaches and students to share (publish) their pedagogical materials,” McDonald said.

Boge added that the article may benefit a team in need of a change to allow it to function more sustainably, and to reflect the variety of ways coaching can be conducted.

The article is published at

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