University of Findlay Team Competes in Its First Ethics Bowl
More than 100 universities throughout the country (public and private) compete each year in the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB). Undergraduate students collaborate, analyze, prepare, and debate at regional and national competitions, presenting their cases on today’s most pressing issues. This fall, University of Findlay formed its team and took part in their first-ever regional competition.
UF’s team is comprised of students from various majors and backgrounds. “These students are wildly dissimilar. Each of them possesses their own special strengths,” said coach Christopher Caldwell, senior director for international, intercultural, and service engagement. “Individually, none of them were up to the task of taking on an ethics bowl case by themselves, but as a team, they were able to run coherent and compelling arguments from start to finish in ways that were clear, clean, and consistent. The strongest quality of these students is their ability to work as a team,” Caldwell said.
The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) is a collaborative experience for undergraduate students that provides an educational experience in practical and professional ethics. Teams prepare for regional and national competitions by analyzing today’s most pressing issues and developing a clear argument. This year, 18 case studies were disseminated to teams, and included the following topics:
- book banning
- the ethics of art collections
- the use of AI in insurance claim review
- space exploration
- environmental, sustainability, and governance (ESG) policies in investment
“We reviewed the stakeholders and their possible values. The key was not to ‘be right’ and find the ‘correct’ side but to really understand the needs of as many perspectives as possible in order to fully consider what a satisfying pathway forward could look like,” said Caldwell. Team members practiced a few hours each week preparing for the competition, increasing the amount of preparation time as the event drew closer.
In their first regional competition, UF placed sixth, falling short just 2.5 points (out of 540 total) from making Nationals. The team was also only seven points from taking fourth place in the tournament overall. “The only thing that stopped me from crying was a hardware victory this year,” said Caldwell. “They did so well!”
After missing the bid to Nationals, UF will be side-lined for the spring, but Caldwell says they plan to use the spring semester to practice, train, and participate in other speech and debate competitions in Ohio. “The next Ethics Bowl regionals will be in November of 2024. We will be there. We will earn a bid to Nationals. I have no doubt about this,” said Caldwell.