April 13th, 2015 (Jupiter, FL)– Traditions play an important role in college life, defining the unique character of each institution and providing bonding experiences for students, faculty, staff and alumni. That is one of the reasons why every year the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University hosts the Honors College Freshman Convocation, the Named Scholar Recognition Ceremony, Scholars Day, Honors College’s Scholarly and Creative Research Symposium, and the Medallion Ceremony, among other events. This year the Honors College hosted its First Annual Ethics Bowl, adding to the many academic traditions of this college.
Students had the opportunity to sign up or join a team of three to four people. Six teams ended up participating this year, with a total of 26 participants and four judges. The First Annual Ethics Bowl was the result of the hard work and dedication of Dr. Ashley G. Kennedy, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, and Dr. Mark Tunick, Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean of the Honors College. Dr. Miguel A. Vázquez, Associate Professor of Spanish, and Dr. Rachel Luria, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition served with Dr. Tunick and Dr. Kennedy as judges for the event. Students were not only scored on the substance and delivery of their arguments but also on their appearance, team participation, use of ethical perspectives and principles, thoroughness of responses to questions, and the level of respect displayed towards judges and opposing teams.
The rounds began with a coin toss to determine which team would lead the discussion and what side of the ethical issue they would defend. The lead judge distributed the question to the teams and allowed the starting team to confer for approximately two minutes. Once the leading team presented their argument, the second team was allowed to respond to their argument. Each round ended with several questions from the judges, which allowed team members to strengthen their points or address the flaws in the opposing team’s arguments.
“I had never done anything like this. I intend to go to medical school so I always considered this to be outside of my field of study,” states FAU Medical Scholar Priscilla Tang, “but to my surprise my knowledge of science came in very handy; our first question was on C-sections, hospitals and doctors rights. It was very interesting to see what the Honors College is all about first-hand throughout this event: interdisciplinary studies. I am very excited to do it again next year!”
The questions posed in this Ethics Bowl ranged from whether or not it is ethical to resubmit a graded paper for a new class, ban the sale of super sugary drinks, justify the state when it forces a woman to undergo a C-section against her wishes and publish a video of a mother scolding her child, to whether it is unethical for an employee to take care of her sick son’s affairs while in the work place. “Although controversial ethical questions and issues may not have a right or wrong answer, it is still challenging to think on the spot and deliver a well formulated answer within such a short period of time,” says Honors College Flagler Scholar Andrew Farris.
The inaugural Honors College Ethics Bowl was a success, and the Honors College would like to congratulate the winning team: John Blozinski, Kaitlyn Shotwell, Sean Crary, Nolan McKenna and Andrew Faris. “This was really an incredible experience, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would! And we won, not everyone gets to say that!” shares senior Kaitlyn Shotwell.
About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.
Byline: Selene C. Vazquez (HC Student)