Ethics Bowl team prepares for event

The NKU Ethics Bowl Team will head to Indianapolis for the first stop of the season.

The team’s destination is the Regional Ethics Bowl Nov. 12 at Marion College. The season will culminate with the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl.

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition will take place on Feb. 23, 2006, in Jacksonville, Fla. This will mark the fourth consecutive year that Northern Kentucky University has participated in this event and the 12th year the event has taken place.

Forty teams from universities around the country will participate in this competition that challenges students to find a solution to everyday ethical dilemmas.

“There are three to five members representing each team,” said Nancy Hancock, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy at NKU. “Originally, most of the participants were philosophy majors. However, we encourage students of all majors to get involved,” she said. “There are ethical issues to be faced in business, physics, engineering, accounting and many other areas. We would like to have a diverse team where as many disciplines as possible are represented.”

After the team is comprised, the rigorous studying begins. “Six weeks prior to the beginning of the competition, teams receive 15 case studies that focus on different issues. The teams look at professional, political, personal and academic ethical topics,” She said. “We divide up primary responsibility for each case among the team members, so that each topic will have an individual speaker.”

“Every team takes part in at least three matches, which includes two rounds. The moderator first decides on the case and then asks the team a question,” Hancock said. “The team has one minute to prepare and then 10 minutes to present their response to the question. Then, the opposing team has five minutes to comment on the first team’s answer, which the first team then gets five minutes to react to,” Hancock said. “Finally, each judge gets to ask one question of the presenting team.”

After the teams have argued their standpoints, the judging begins. According to the judge’s score sheet, the evaluation is based off of four points: Was the presentation clear? Did the team avoid ethically irrelevant issues? Did the team’s presentation clearly identify the moral dimensions of the case? Was there awareness and consideration of different viewpoints? The opposing team’s response and the original team’s rebuttal are evaluated.

Since the competition is at a different location across the country every year, funding can be difficult to obtain. “The first year we participated in the competition, it was held in Cincinnati, so there were no traveling costs. The second year the competition was held in Raleigh, North Carolina. With help from the dean of arts and sciences, The department of sociology, anthropology and philosophy covered the cost,” Hancock said. “Last year, we traveled to San Antonio, Texas, and were lucky to have three people cover the cost: Dr. Gail Wells, vice president for academic affairs and provost, Dr. Phil Schmidt, dean of arts and sciences, and Dr. Terry Pence, chair of the department of sociology, anthropology, and philosophy. It didn’t cost any of the students on the team a dime to go,” Hancock said.

Sponsors are still needed to assist in supporting the Ethics Bowl this year. “We are always looking for community partners to sponsor the Ethics Bowl Team,” Hancock said. For information on making a donation or becoming part of the Ethics Bowl Team, please contact Hancock at x6401.