Ethics team nabs regional title
Dec. 12, 2006
KALAMAZOO--A team of three students from Western Michigan University will compete in the national Ethics Bowl competition in February in Cincinnati after their victory at a regional competition Dec. 2.
WMU's Ethics Bowl team went undefeated in the regional competition held at Harper College near Chicago, ultimately besting a team from Illinois Institute of Technology for the top spot. WMU will now compete with more than 30 teams Feb. 22 at the Thirteenth Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, held in conjunction with the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics annual meeting in Cincinnati.
"The team exceeded all my expectations," says team faculty sponsor Dr. Sandra Borden, WMU associate professor of communication and co-director of WMU's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society. "We were up against some very good schools. Finishing undefeated is a big accomplishment."
The ethics bowl competition requires students to defend their positions on ethical questions related to a variety of areas, including engineering, law, medicine, personal relationships, school and politics. The students receive 15 extensive case studies involving ethical issues to examine in advance of the competition. As teams present their positions on cases and critique opposing teams' positions, they are judged based on the focus, thoroughness, clarity and logic of their positions.
WMU team members are Natalie Kaftan, a junior majoring in interpersonal communication and vocal performance from De Pere, Wis.; Shawn Myers, a sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences and psychology from Jackson, Mich., and Jennifer Praner, a sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences from Battle Creek, Mich.
The team is coached by David Charlton, a graduate student in comparative religion from Kalamazoo; and philosophy graduate students Brennan Jacoby of Clarklake, Mich., and Joshua Upson of Galesburg, Mich. The WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society sponsors the team with support from the Lee Honors College.
In February, WMU will vie with 32 other teams for the national title. WMU has competed in the Ethics Bowl contest every year since its inception as a regional contest in 1994. The competition expanded to the national level in 1997, and WMU has consistently placed among the top 10 teams, garnering third out of 14 teams in 1998 and fifth out of 26 teams in 2000.
"The students are very excited about going to nationals," says Borden. "I'm sure they will work hard to build on the reasoning skills and teamwork that led them to their success at the regional contest. If they do that, they can't go wrong."
WMU Ethics Team members
Natalie Kaftan, a junior majoring in interpersonal communication and vocal performance from De Pere, Wis., is the daughter of Jodi and Charles Kaftan of De Pere, and a 2004 graduate of De Pere High School. She is a member of the WMU Lee Honors College and a Medallion Scholar.
Shawn Myers, a sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences and psychology from Jackson, Mich., is the son of Mark Myers of Hanover, Mich., and Susan Hunt of Clarklake, Mich. A 2005 graduate of Hanover Horton High School, he is a member of the WMU Lee Honors College.
Jennifer Praner, a sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences from Battle Creek, Mich., is the daughter of Karen and David Praner of Battle Creek, and is a 1998 graduate of Bitburg American High School in Bitburg, Germany.
For more information, contact Dr. Sandra Borden at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269) 387-0362.
Media contact: Marie Lee, (269) 387-8400, email@example.com