UAB Ethics Bowl team contends for national title

UAB’s Ethics Bowl team, which won the Southeast regionals, advanced to the national College Ethics Bowl for the first time since 2012.

ethics 2015 2The University of Alabama at Birmingham Ethics Bowl team traveled to California to compete in the 19th Intercollegiate College Ethics Bowl in February.

The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics sponsors the annual Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. After advancing through the Southeast regional competition in November, UAB moved on to a round of the nation’s top 32 college teams.

This year’s team was selected from a College of Arts and Sciences Department of Philosophy class, “Contemporary Moral Issues,” taught by department chair Gregory Pence, Ph.D. The team selection process mirrored the strategy of the national championship-winning team in 2010. Two UAB teams attended the Southeast regional competition in 2012, with the senior team advancing to nationals.

The team, coached by Pence and Joshua May, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy, included three freshmen, Clara Wan and Lakshmi Subramani, both of Huntsville, and Joanne Jacobs, of Atlanta, and sophomores Aashka Patel, of Vestavia, and Kevin Yang, of Hoover.

The students prepare for competition by analyzing 30 applied ethics case studies during the semester, ranging from the ethics of testing dangerous, new medical techniques to questions of the privacy rights of celebrities when unedited photos of them leak to the media.

“I am very proud of this team’s hard work,” Pence said. “For a young group of students, their arguments were carefully researched and prepared.”

The students prepare for competition by analyzing 30 applied ethics case studies during the semester, ranging from the ethics of testing dangerous, new medical techniques to questions of the privacy rights of celebrities when unedited photos of them leak to the media. Throughout the semester, guest judges attended practice sessions, asking team members to evaluate and refine their arguments as they practiced for the competition.

“The cases are designed to touch on contemporary issues, showing how ethics apply to everyday life,” Pence said. “In their careers, these students will face countless moral dilemmas. I hope this competition teaches them that good leaders know to how to think through those dilemmas and be prepared to defend their decisions.”

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