WMU News

WMU takes fifth place in national Ethics Bowl

March 8, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- A team of four Western Michigan University students claimed fifth place in the Sixth Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl national competition held Feb. 24 in Washington, D.C.

WMU's team competed against 25 others from across the nation, including those from Villanova, Valparaiso and Texas A & M universities and the U.S. Military, Air Force and Naval academies. WMU's team was one of only eight that won both its preliminary rounds, defeating Concordia (Calif.) University and Taylor (Ind.) University. The team missed making the semi-final cut to four teams by just four points. The ultimate winner was the University of Washington.

The Ethics Bowl, fashioned after television's College Bowl, is conducted by a moderator who poses questions to the student teams about case studies involving ethical issues. A panel of judges evaluates the teams' answers, rating them based on soundness of reasoning, clarity, focus and depth.

WMU has competed in the Ethics Bowl contest every year since its inception in 1994. In 1998, WMU was third out of 14 teams.

"Our finish this year is comparable to that year," says Dr. Sandra Borden, associate director for WMU's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, assistant professor of communication and the team's faculty sponsor. "The event has really grown and become a lot more competitive. It's really great that we made it to the final eight. We are making a consistent showing in a much more competitive environment."

The team members are Dawn David, a junior majoring in general business, from Whitehall, Mich.; Julie A. Huey, a senior majoring in psychology and organizational communication, from Fraser, Mich.; Alycia M. Iwan, a senior majoring in organizational communication and psychology, from St. Joseph, Mich.; and Rhonda Wood, a senior majoring in organizational communication from Kalamazoo.

The team members were chosen after competing in try-outs on campus last semester. They practiced for the national competition by studying 11 case studies and establishing the team's position on ethical issues ranging from equal pay for equal work to the making of the movie "Hurricane."

"Our team members received a number of compliments from judges and fellow contestants based on their preliminary rounds," says Borden. "Their strength was their teamwork. They became cohesive really quickly and it really showed in competition."

The competition is sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, in conjunction with that organization's annual meeting; the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at Illinois Institute of Technology; and the Office of Ethics and Business Practices of Sears Roebuck Co. WMU's team was sponsored by the University's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, with financial support from the Lee Honors College.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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