Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Ethics Bowl?
  • Who will judge the teams?
  • What criteria are used for judging?
  • How do we prepare for the event?
  • Is there a cost to participate?
  • What do teams receive?
  • What is the schedule for the competition?
  • How do I register?
  • Who do I contact for questions?

What is Ethics Bowl?

Ethics Bowl is an event inspired by the nationally televised College Bowl. It began in 1995 as an intercollegiate competition developed by faculty at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Marian University has sponsored the Central States Regional Ethics Bowl since 1999.

In this multidisciplinary event, teams of up to five college students exercise their moral reasoning skills in a friendly and competitive atmosphere. The Central States Regional Ethics Bowl is open to all undergraduate majors and interests.

In an Ethics Bowl match, a moderator will question two teams, one defending team and one opposing team, on each case. Teams will receive a set of cases prior to the match. However, they will not know in advance which case they will be asked to discuss or the question that they will be asked. After the defending team has answered the question, the opposing team will comment on the defending team’s answer. The defending team then responds to the opposing team’s commentary. After the judges evaluate both teams on their performance, the teams reverse roles for the next round and the next case. Rules for regional competitions are established by the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl and are available at the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl website and at the link above.

Who will judge the teams?

Judges are selected to provide a wide range of background, experience, and perspective. Past judges include business executives, chief executive officers, college professors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and other highly respected members of the community.

Evaluations are not based on right or wrong answers, but on the team’s ability to defend a stance.

What criteria are used for judging?

Teams are scored on clarity and intelligibility, identification and discussion of central moral dimensions, and deliberative thoughtfulness. Scores are presented at the end of the match.

Clarity and Intelligibility:

Was the presentation clear and systematic? Regardless of whether or not you agree with the conclusion, did the team give a coherent argument in a clear and succinct manner?

Identification and Discussion of Central Ethical Issues:

Did the team's presentation clearly identify and thoroughly discuss the central moral dimensions of the case?

Deliberative Thoughtfulness:

Did the team's presentation indicate both awareness and thoughtful consideration of different viewpoints, especially those that would loom large in the reasoning of individuals who disagree with the team's position?

How do we prepare for the event?

The set of cases for the competition becomes available the Wednesday after Labor Day. Teams are notified that the cases have been posted and a link to the cases is provided to participating teams. Teams will not know which cases will be used in the competition and should be ready to address any of them. The judging criteria outlined in the question above and the sample cases can be helpful in guiding students as they prepare for the competition.

Is there a cost to participate?

There is a $100 participation fee per school for up to two teams. Payment should be made on theIntercollegiate Ethics Bowl payment portal upon registration. Directions for payment will be provided upon registration for the Central States Regional Ethics Bowl. See below for how to register online at the Central States Regional Ethics Bowl website.

What do teams receive?

All teams receive a gift, morning refreshments, and a buffet lunch. The winning team will receive a trophy and a $500 scholarship to be used toward attending the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition. This national competition takes place at the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

What is the schedule for the competition?

** This schedule is subject to change. **

Time Activity
7-8 a.m. Registration
7:30-8 a.m. Training for Judges and Moderators
8 a.m. Judge and Moderator Pictures
8:10-8:35 a.m. Refreshments/Welcome Remarks
8:45-9:55 a.m. Match One
10:10-11:20 a.m. Match Two
11:35 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Match Three
1-1:45 p.m. Buffet or Boxed Lunch
1:45-2:15 p.m. Team Pictures 
2:30-3 p.m. Awards Ceremony and Concluding Remarks

How do I register?

Registration for the Central States Regional Ethics Bowl is open through October 21, 2016. Teams register through the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). The registration fee is $100 for up to two teams (i.e., schools need not pay separate registration fees for each team). The Central States region does not charge an additional fee on top of APPE's $100 fee. All teams must hold a current individual or institutional membership in the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (student memberships do not qualify).

Whom do I contact for questions?

Refer to our contact page for more information.

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