Department of English


Ken Johnson

Research Interests

Ken Johnson has worked with the University of Rochester Debate Union since 2000. During his time at the University, Ken has led the debate team to multiple national championships and has expanded the footprint of debate at the U of R River Campus. Ken’s primary experience is in competitive Cross-Examination Policy Debate. In order to broaden the relevance of the debate program, Ken also teaches World’s Format British Parliamentary Debate and Public Forum Debate. The University of Rochester Debate Program stands apart from other programs because of its focus on training students with little or no previous experience. U of R novices have gone on to compete at the highest levels of intercollegiate debate, with a number of teams qualifying for the prestigious National Debate Tournament. The model of inclusivity has allowed the University of Rochester program to grow to one of the largest policy debate programs in the United States, traveling over 50 students a year to debate tournaments across the country.

Fellowships, Honors & Awards

  • Coach of the Year, Society Advocating More and Better Argumentation, 2002
  • Preferred Judge Award, Novice and Junior Varsity National Debate Tournament, 2005

Selected Publications

  • "The Oral Tradition: The Importance of Narrative in Debate Coaching," with Sam Nelson, in Rostrum 75.5 (2001)