Do The Write Thing: Michigan Ethics Bowl Case Competition

A2Ethics is teaming up with the University of Michigan Ethics Bowl Team for the first-ever case writing competition in support of the Michigan High School Ethics Bowl. Other writing competitions exist, including one that our friends from the National High School Ethics Bowl annually sponsor. Our writing contest puts the spotlight on talented and philosophically-minded Michigan writers. Specifically, writers who are undergraduates attending the University of Michigan. 

We are in the best position to offer this competition: A2Ethics organizes the annual Michigan High School Ethics Bowl with our partners from the University of Michigan Philosophy Outreach Program and member schools. The Ethics Bowl Team represents Michigan in the well-established college league of Ethics Bowl programs. Since case studies are the essence of these contests, what better way to expand student involvement and interest in philosophy at high schools and colleges across Michigan?

Who Is Eligible? 

Anyone currently enrolled as an undergraduate at any University of Michigan campus. 

How Do I Participate in "Do The Write Thing"?

You just need to imagine and then write a scenario of 500 to 800-words that identifies a real world ethical dilemma or current ethical issue that may have special relevance to Michigan high school students. Just keep in mind: it's an ethics case, not a legal brief, medical history narrative or business presentation. For examples, check out the case archive from last year's Michigan High School Ethics Bowl.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Are There Additional Guidelines and Rules?

You are allowed to write more than one case--whether as an individual or as a member of a case study writing team. If you write a collaborative case, all authors must be given credit for their contribution. Even so, there is a limit to entries. You may be listed as an author on up to three cases. If we see your name on more than three, we will think you haven't read these guidelines and rules...and your submissions won't count. Oh...and if you are on a writing team, please choose someone who will be responsible for whether and how the prize money will be divvied up and documented for any tax liability from prizes.     

The scenario has to be original and never published. Since the winning case will be used as one of the cases for the upcoming Michigan High School Ethics Bowl on February 7, 2016, it will be well publicized. That said, all submissions can be included in current and future case sets, in full or in part. This includes cases not selected by the judges as prize winners. Likewise, all cases may be edited before evaluation. And finally, all cases written for the competition will become the property of   

What About Judges? 

There are three judges, all from Michigan, all skilled and experienced in evaluating case studies of this sort. They all have a strong background in philosophy and ethics. To ensure a blind review, all submissions will be formatted so that none of the judges will know author identity.

Cases will be judged on the basis of: sufficient factual information or background; clear understanding of moral and ethical dimensions; organization and clarity of writing; consideration of possible multiple perspectives; and relevance to a Michigan audience.

What Is The Case Writing Competition For?

Now in its third season, the Michigan High School Ethics Bowl is an extracurricular program for high school students interested in learning about ethics and philosophy through the study and examination of ethics case studies. The annual program culminates in Bowl Day, a judged tournament where all teams present and discuss ethics case studies to win the state championship and to represent Michigan in the annual National Bowl at the University of North Carolina. 

The "Do The Write Thing" case competition expands, strengthens and diversifies the pool of case sets that student teams can investigate and analyze in preparing for Bowl Day. The winning case will be included in the Third Annual Michigan High School Ethics Bowl. 

Why Should I Write For The Bowl? 

         For The Common Good

There are good consequences all around. Your actions will certainly contribute to the overall happiness of high school students in Michigan who would like to be introduced to the fields of ethics and philosophy through the Bowl. In turn, your actions will increase the likelihood that other high school students in Michigan and beyond will want to learn about ethics and philosophy too.  

         For Enlightened Self Interest

There are good consequences for you. If there is an ethical dilemma or topic you think about alot, what better way to test your ideas and broaden your views? By writing a case, you can learn other perspectives and move beyond your own orbit. 

Then, of course, there's the public adulation. Okay, not that much. But for a few nanoseconds, you'll be in the center of Michigan's admittedly small ethics universe. If that doesn't sway you, you can always include it in your resume or on your LinkedIn profile: "Do The Write Thing" Case Competition Writer, Michigan High School Ethics Bowl 2016.  

And don't forget the prizes. The grand prize is $300, and the second place winner receives $100. Before you scoff, remember that 18th century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau did not win that amount from the Academy of Dijon (yes, the home of the mustard) for writing the work that introduced him to the world. And made him immortal. And that the ancient Greek playwright, Sophocles, took 2nd prize for his masterpiece Oedipus the King. And his plays are still performed today.   

What are the deadlines?

The case studies are due: Thursday, October 15, 2015.
The inaugural "Do The Write Thing" winner will be announced: Friday, November 6, 2015. 

Where do I send my submission(s)?  

Please send your submission(s) to [email protected]

How can I publicize "Do The Write Thing" and the Michigan High School Ethics Bowl? 

You can share this announcement by downloading: The Case Competition Flyer

You can also share the video of the 2015 Bowl:

How can I find out more about the U-M Ethics Bowl Team? 

A2Ethics believes the Ethics Bowl Team should receive more affection and attention. Since their start just six years ago, the Michigan Ethics Bowl Team has gone to the National Bowl twice. Quite an accomplishment. In addition, they are all fascinating individuals, something you can discover for yourself by going to the U-M Ethics Bowl Team page on this website

We also like them because they participate and volunteer in A2Ethics events, including the Big Ethical Question Slam. And in any ethical quandary, they are very good friends to have. But that's not all. The Ethics Bowl Team members deserve a shout-out because they are fun to work with and make excellent partners. And finally, they LOVE to engage in philosophy and ethics thought experiments in inventive ways, just like we do!

You can join the University of Michigan Ethics Bowl Team today: [email protected]