The UCF student team from the Department of Philosophy won the Mid-Atlantic Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition held at the University of North Georgia’s BB&T Center for Ethical Leadership on Saturday, November 18, 2017. Sixteen teams from fourteen universities competed on moral and ethical cases produced by the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics. UCF defeated Wake Forest University in the final round to win the regional championship after presenting positions on censoring fake news, euthanasia for alcoholism, teen suicide awareness, and competitive fairness for intersexed athletes, among several other topics.
“The team worked very well together and it was wonderful to see all of them develop their critical thinking skills, and especially to see their confidence grow in presenting complex ethical positions,” team coach and chair of the Philosophy department Dr. Michael Strawser commented. The students on the team are part of Dr. Strawser’s IDH 3600H: Honors Case Studies in Ethics course, which meets twice weekly.
“We’ve been working on the cases since they were published in early September by the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics,” Dr. Strawser said of the team’s preparation. In addition to mock Ethics Bowl rounds in class, the students have written discussion postings and research papers on the cases and presented their positions orally.
UCF’s involvement with the Ethics Bowl started in 2004, when Dr. Strawser and Dr. Nancy Stanlick of the Department of Philosophy along with Dr. Madi Dogariu of the Burnett Honors College first prepared student teams to compete in the Southeast Regional Ethics Bowl (SEREB). Since 2008, the UCF Ethics Bowl teams have been supported by the Ginsburg Family Foundation as a “student development experience that prepares undergraduates to make moral decisions in the fields of law, medicine, business and the humanities.”
Dr. Strawser has been coaching additional teams to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (MAREB) since 2015. SEREB was held at UCF in 2016, organized by Dr. Stanlick, and the 2011 team won the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. “We are very excited to have qualified to compete again for the National Ethics Bowl championship in 2018,” says Dr. Strawser.
The 2017 Ethics Bowl team and MAREB winners are senior Mary Bianculli, double majoring in Religion and Cultural Studies and Philosophy; senior Darlene Lin, majoring in Philosophy; sophomore Brandon Melvin, majoring in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Philosophy; and sophomore Ethan Uhlig, majoring in Philosophy with a minor in Computer Science.
Uhlig, who also participates in competitive debate, felt that preparing and competing in the Ethics Bowl helps strengthen communication skills for a broader audience outside of those in the discipline who study philosophy or ethics. “I really appreciate the experience of having these discussions and being able to compete with students from all over the country who have different backgrounds and perspectives. It gives us a broader view of ethics and philosophy, and really enhances our ability to have these discussions at a level that is more cognizant of the different ideas and viewpoints that people around the world have.”
The win qualifies the team to compete in the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, which will be held in Chicago on March 4-5, 2018, and will feature 36 teams qualifying from 11 regional ethics bowl competitions.
See the University of North Georgia’s recap of MAREB here.