Ethics Competition

  • Four members of the Ethics Bowl team for 2018

    Ethics Competition

    2018 Western Michigan University Ethics Bowl team

The Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at Western Michigan University and the Department of Philosophy participate in the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl.

Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl

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The 2023 WMU Ethics Bowl team

The Ethics Center and the Department of Philosophy partnered to send a team to the Ethics Bowl regional qualifier November 11, 2023. The students prepared for the competition as part of PHIL 3140: Ethics Bowl. The course instructor, McGwire Hidden, coached the team. Another Philosophy graduate student, Michael Brook, assisted with the class and served as assistant coach.

The students participating in the regional qualifier were: Heleana Wessendorf, Phae Dunnigan and Brendan Matthews. The team finished 1-3 after close matches against Grand Valley State University, University of Detroit Mercy and two schools that eventually qualified for the national championship February 24-25 in Cincinnati: Vanderbilt University and the host for the regional qualifier, University of Chicago.

The APPE Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (APPE IEB) provides students with an opportunity to practice applying the moral theories and argumentation principles that they learn in their ethics classes. Students receive a set of case studies in advance involving ethical issues in a number of practical contexts, including engineering, law, medicine, personal relationships, school and politics.

During a round, each team takes turns presenting its position on a case and critiquing the other team’s position on a different case. Teams must answer questions about their positions from a panel of judges. Judges assign scores based on logical consistency, clarity, focus and thoroughness.

WMU has competed in the bowl contest every year since it expanded from an intramural event at the Illinois Institute of Technology to a small regional contest involving a handful of colleges in 1994—an event WMU won. The competition went national in 1997. The national championship takes place every spring at the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. WMU’s best national showings were third out of 14 teams in 1998, fifth out of 26 teams in 2000, and ninth out of 32 teams in 2007.

The bowl became a tiered competition beginning in 2007, with practices and regional contests taking place every fall. WMU’s team won the 2006 regional qualifier at Harper College and the 2007 qualifier at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

2019 Ethics Bowl team

The 2019 Ethics Bowl team competes in the regional qualifier at Oakland University.

Join the team

If you are interested in representing Western Michigan University in the APPE Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition, contact Sandra Borden.