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Ethics Bowl team seeks members

March 27, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society is recruiting students for its Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team. The application deadline is Thursday, April 3, and tryouts will be held Thursday, April 10.

The team will compete in a regional qualifier at WMU on Nov. 15. A slot on the team may also involve participation during the spring 2009 semester, depending on whether the team advances to the national competition in February 2009.

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl is a national contest held annually in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

The Ethics Bowl provides students with an opportunity to practice applying the moral theories and argumentation principles that they learn in their ethics classes. They receive about 15 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 another 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 Ethics 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.

Team members are eligible to sign up for one to two hours of independent study credit in philosophy in spring 2009. Applicants must:

Be in good standing as an active undergraduate student at WMU for the fall 2008 term;

Have successfully completed at least one course in ethics or be enrolled in such a course;

Be willing to spend time from September to November preparing for the regional qualifier at WMU Nov. 15,

Be willing to spend time in January and February preparing for the national competition and be available to travel in late February to the competition site if the team advances.

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl recently received a Special Commendation for Excellence and Innovation from the American Philosophical Association and the Philosophy Documentation Center. WMU was the 2006 and 2007 regional champion and placed ninth at the 2007 nationals. WMU's best national showings were third out of 14 teams in 1998 and fifth out of 26 teams in 2000.

WMU's team is sponsored by the Ethics Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, with financial support from the Lee Honors College and the School of Communication. Dr. Sandra Borden, associate professor of communication, is the team's faculty sponsor and co-director of the ethics center.

Students interested in applying should contact Dr. Sandra Borden at sandra.borden@wmich.edu. Tryout information will be sent by e-mail to students once completed applications have been received.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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