Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

Nov. 18, 2008

Whitworth Team Wins Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl

A team of Whitworth students took first place at the seventh annual Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl, hosted Nov. 15 by The Boeing Co., in Seattle. The Whitworth team defeated groups from Central Washington University, Montana State University and the University of British Columbia to advance to the final, in which it defeated another team from Montana State University. This year marks the sixth time in seven years that a Whitworth team has placed in the semifinals or finals.

The Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl was one of 10 regional competitions held this fall as part of the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB). The Whitworth team, as well as the other top-scoring teams in the 10 regional ethics bowls (32 total), will compete for the IEB national championship in March 2009, at the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In the IEB, a moderator poses questions to teams of three to five students. Questions may concern ethical problems on a wide range of 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 the Nov. 15 competition, Whitworth's interdisciplinary ethical-debate team analyzed 10 ethically complex cases pertaining to topics such as the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, reasons for increasing public funding for high occupancy toll traffic lanes but not increasing funding for high occupancy vehicle car pool lanes, and the increasing use of corn for biofuel rather than for food. 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 include communications major Chris Caldwell, '09, philosophy & theology majors Dan Herve, '10, and Heather Stevens, '09, philosophy and English double-major Kelly Vincent, and political science and psychology double-major Nicole Holland, both '09. The team was coached by Mike Ingram, 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 won the 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.

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

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

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