Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College competes in National Academic Ethics Bowl

March 4th, 2016 | SMWC

Ethics Bowl
(l to r) Dagny Gargas, Lacey Humphrey and Jacqueline Peterschmidt

Demonstrating reasoning ability and critical thinking to debate ethical issues and attain the best moral decision, the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Ethics Bowl team finished in ninth place at the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, an initiative of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE), on February 21, 2016. The Woods was one of 36 final teams advancing out of ten regional competitions from across the United States. SMWC tied for ninth place, missing advancement to the finals by only ten points.

“The students developed critical thinking habits while they were challenged to think on their feet and apply theory to fact,” said SMWC Honors Director Kathryn Myers. “These tools, which are reflective of our liberal arts education, will be valuable in their future endeavors.”

SMWC’s Team I qualified to compete at Nationals and consisted of Jacqueline Peterschmidt, Valparaiso, Ind.; Dagny Gargas, Indianapolis, Ind.; and Lacey Humphrey, Terre Haute, Ind.  SMWC’s Team II, Casey Dust, Rockville, Ind.; Madison Summerlot, Poland, Ind.; Macy Dorman, Bloomfield, Ind.; and Ashleigh Pflum, Indianapolis, Ind., helped prepare the team and travelled to the competition. The teams are required to dialog about and defend their moral assessment of cases prepared by APPE faculty, professionals and researchers.

“I'm proud of our team for doing so well at Nationals in only our second year of competition,” said Humphrey, sophomore SMWC environmental science major. “The biggest thing I have gained through Ethics Bowl is being able to effectively and respectfully state my position on something I feel passionately about. That's a skill that I'll carry on with me when I'm well into my future life and career.”

While this was SMWC’s second year of competition, it was the first trip to nationals. The College competed with teams from Northwestern, University of California at Bakersfield and University of Tampa and won against Northwestern and University of Tampa. Faced with six interesting ethical dilemmas from a total of fifteen cases, the students used was they had practice to formulate answers to wide ranging ethical topics including politics, sports and language. Students derived their responses from articulating the morally relevant aspects of the cases and anticipating challenges from the other team and questions from the judges.

“To come that close to competing in the finals at nationals was a success in itself,” said Myers. “These young ladies continue to represent the College well by being professional individuals in a competitive environment. Their success is proof of the value of a Woods education.”