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A2Ethics November Press Release: A New Winning Tradition at Michigan

On November 26th, issued a press release to local media outlets about our podcast interview with two members of the U-M Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Team. Please share this podcast and help spread the word about the Michigan Ethics Bowl Team as well as the 2012 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition in general:

Ann Arbor, MI - On December 1 of this year, Loyola University in Chicago will be the scene of a deep thinking competition, as seven University of Michigan undergraduates vie against other well-positioned teams from regional colleges and universities in the 17th Annual Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Championship. Although the Michigan Ethics Bowl Team was formed just four years ago, the group took the Upper Midwest regional trophy in last year's competition. This year, they're hoping to top that achievement by winning both the regional and national contests.

Founded by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl sponsors 10 regional competitions at locations across the United States. Contestants include colleges and universities from around the country and the world. This year, the 32 highest-scoring teams will proceed to the national championship round in San Antonio, Texas, to be held on February 28, 2013.

Since the start of the academic year, Michigan's team members have been researching, discussing and crafting arguments for the 15 cases that distinguish the event. As in years past, topics are diverse and pose scenarios touching on professional ethics, social and political ethics, personal relationships and academic issues. This year's subjects range from "Street Art: Vandalism or Philanthropy?" to "The Student Loan Forgiveness Act" and "Rape Jokes and Popular Culture."

During the competition, cases will be assigned at random to teams consisting of three to five members. Working without research materials, each team will spend two minutes conferring. Contestants then will have seven minutes to demonstrate their mastery of the subject and their critical thinking skills by presenting ethics-based arguments from multiple perspectives. Team responses will be judged on intelligibility and quality; the ethical relevance of their arguments, and their overall "deliberative thoughtfulness."

Leading Michigan's 2012-2013 Ethics Bowl Team are senior Hasenin Al-Khersan and sophomore Tracey Fu, both returning members of last year's regional title team.

Like most of her fellow team members, Tracey joined the Bowl quest in an effort to improve her skills in critical thinking and public speaking. But along the way she discovered other "goods" from her participation. As she notes, "All undergraduates can benefit from this competition... to exercise critical intelligence in exploring the ethical dimensions of a broad range of issues." She also likes the competitive aspect; it motivates everyone to be at their best.  

Hasenin observes that every participant learns a great deal. "When you delve into a case, you find a web of related issues and nuances, he explains. "I've enjoyed the process of building my critical thinking skills. And now I find that I'm constantly challenging my own opinions and examining questions and issues on a much deeper level."

Both Hasenin and Tracey agree that belonging to a team is educational and social. Team members learn from each other in discussing real world scenarios and enjoy the camaraderie in doing so. 

So far, the University of Michigan Program in Philosophy, Politics and Economics has covered the team's travel expenses to the regional competition in Chicago. Should the Ethics Bowl Team win its second regional trophy--as it hopes and expects to do--it will face a serious funding challenge. Currently, the members have no means of paying for their travel to San Antonio in February.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Michigan team and the regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, scheduled for December 1 in Chicago, can find details or listen to the A2Ethics audio podcast at