Ethics competition “bowls over” last year’s event


May 2, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's 2nd Annual Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl doubled in size, not only in student participation but also in the number of faculty and local professionals serving as moderators and judges.

The first SRU Ethics Bowl, in 2015, drew just four teams of students and nine faculty moderators and judges from SRU. This year's competition included eight teams of students, eight faculty mentors from six different disciplines, four moderators and 12 judges, said Andrew Colvin, SRU associate professor of philosophy.

"The growth of the program in just one year is impressive," said Brad Wilson, interim associate provost for transformational experiences, who served as a judge. "Even more impressive was the enthusiasm of the students and the high level of their discussion of complex ethical issues. This event is a great showcase of how students can connect the knowledge and skills they learn in class with real life issues."

Ethics Bowl is a collegiate competition developed by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics in which teams of students debate contemporary ethical issues in a friendly competition. Rather than focusing on formal debate skills, teams are scored on the clarity and intelligibility of their arguments, their identification and discussion of central ethical issues and their deliberative thoughtfulness, Colvin said.

The winning team included:

  • Brittany Rhoades, a geography, environmental studies and sustainability major from Grove City;
  • Rena Alforno, a geography, environmental students and sustainability major from Beaver Falls;
  • Spencer Knaflec, a psychology major from Rochester;
  • Marshall Martin, a philosophy major from Grove City; and
  • Joe Krawiec, a Spanish major from Fairview.

Andrew Winters and Tom Sparrow, instructors of philosophy, coached the team.

Tianna Wikert, an exercise science major from Saxonburg and a first-time competitor, said she enjoyed participating in the April 23 competition.

"I felt a sense of pride both going into and out of this event because it was my first experience with something like it," she said. "I've never been a part of a more dedicated and academically hard working group of people before."

This year's event included the first student moderator, Yonshalae Powell, a communication major from Sharon. Paula Rieder and Lia Paradis, both associate professors of history, and Sunita Peacock, associate professor of English, joined in moderating the team matches.

The Office of the Provost, the Office for Transformational Experiences, the College of Liberal Arts, the Stone House Center for Public Humanities and the department of philosophy sponsored the competition.

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