Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

November 16, 2007

Whitworth Team Takes Fourth Place at Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl

A team of Whitworth students took fourth place at the sixth annual Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl, hosted Nov. 10 by the Boeing Corporation, in Seattle. The regional competition was one of 10 held this fall as part of the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB). The Whitworth team won all three of its preliminary matches, defeating Seattle University, Montana State University (last year's champion) and the University of Washington (this year's champion). Whitworth lost a close semifinal to the University of British Columbia.

In the IEB, a moderator poses questions to teams of three to five students. Questions may concern ethical problems on wide ranging topics. Each team receives a set of ethical issues in advance of the competition, and questions posed to teams at the competition are taken from that set. A panel of judges evaluates answers; rating criteria are intelligibility, focus on ethically relevant considerations, avoidance of ethical irrelevance, and deliberative thoughtfulness.

Prior to Nov. 10 competition, Whitworth's interdisciplinary ethical-debate team analyzed 10 ethically complex cases pertaining to payday loans, universities using adjunct faculty, the role of ethics officers in corporations, and obligations of international-finance organizations to developing nations. In each round of the competition, a panel of judges posed a question about a topic; the teams prepared responses using reasoning, application of ethical theories, and cogent-policy analysis. The teams gave short presentations on their responses and then fielded questions from the judges.

Members of the Whitworth team are communications major Chris Caldwell and marketing major Mary Rupert, both '07, and philosophy major Daniel Griffin, journalism major Joni Merrill, and journalism major Tracey Brown, all '08. The team was coached by Mike Ingram, associate professor of communication studies and associate dean for faculty development and scholarship, and Keith Wyma, associate professor of philosophy.

Organized by the Illinois Institute of Technology's Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, the IEB develops students' intellectual abilities and capacities, deepens their ethical understanding, and reinforces their sense of ethical commitment. The IEB has received special commendation for excellence and innovation from the American Philosophical Association, and received the 2006 American Philosophical Association/Philosophy Documentation Center's 2006 prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs. The format, rules, and procedures of the IEB all have been developed to model widely acknowledged best methods of reasoning in practical and professional ethics.

The top-scoring teams in the 10 regional ethics bowls (32 total) will compete for the national championship of the IEB in February 2008, at the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, to be held in San Antonio, Texas.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Mike Ingram, associate professor of communication studies and associate dean for faculty development and scholarship, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4428 or mingram@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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