UW-Madison hosts Upper Midwest Ethics Bowl

On December 1, teams of undergraduates traveled to Madison to compete in the Upper Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl. A cross-college team of UW-Madison students, two from CALS and two from the College of Engineering, participated in this regional bowl. Laura Grossenbacher from the College of Engineering and John Klatt from CALS coached the team of Silas Bernardoni, Appesh Mohandas, Alissa Romens, and Tony Wang. The UW-Madison team placed fourth and may qualify for an invitation to the national Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB).

The Madison team, composed entirely of science and engineering majors, successfully contended with teams composed primarily of philosophy, communications, business, history, or English majors. This indicates UW-Madison students are developing excellent communication skills while pursuing science and engineering majors.

Ethics Bowl is an academic competition for undergraduate students combining excitement and fun with an educationally valuable experience in the areas of practical and professional ethics. The ethics bowl competition is a way for undergraduates to fine tune their reasoning skills and enhance their awareness of ethical issues in every day life.

Eight regional competitions precede the national IEB. During each bowl, a moderator poses questions to teams of three to five undergraduate students. Questions relate to a set of cases that teams receive in advance and address a wide array of subjects, such as academic ethics, business or professional ethics, ethical issues in personal relationships, or social and political ethics. Panels of judges evaluate the teams’ answers based on four criteria: clarity of argument, identification of critical issues, focus, and deliberative thoughtfulness.

This is only the second year UW-Madison has participated in the regional ethics bowl; in 2006 a group of engineering students formed the first UW-Madison team. In a short time, the team has set a high standard of performance. In the future, the team hopes to attract students from the other undergraduate schools and colleges and continue its initial success.