WPU Students Go Undefeated in 2022 NCICU Ethics Bowl

February 16, 2022

Four WPU seniors went undefeated at the Ethics Bowl Friday, hosted by the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU). 

The NCICU Ethics Bowl is an annual competition among 13 independent colleges and universities in North Carolina. The event provides an academic experience that increases student awareness and understanding about applying ethics in leadership, decision-making, interpersonal relations, and various issues in society relevant in today’s world. In addition, the Ethics Bowl is a way for NCICU to showcase what smaller, independent colleges and universities are capable of and give notoriety to their organization. 

While the NCICU did not select any winners this year, the WPU team went undefeated during all three of their rounds. 

During the competition, teams were presented with an ethics question related to this year’s theme, “Ethics in Democracy and Citizenship.” A panel of trained independent judges, whose backgrounds range from NC legislators to business leaders, typically use a rubric to determine the winner. The judges want to see a quality of reasoning and a professional demeanor. 

Michael Bruce, one of the WPU competitors, said it felt fast. 

“From my experience at the competition, I learned that it pays to be prepared and rehearsed,” Bruce said. “You have to be quick on your feet because you don’t know what the other team is going to say, so you have to be quick and adaptable in order to not let them get one over on you.”

Students on the team must be enrolled in PHL 395HL – Special Topics in Philosophy Ethics Bowl, a course by invitation only. The WPU team included: 

Argentina Alvarez-Molina ’22 (Interdisciplinary Studies)

Michael Bruce ’22 (Political Science)

Colin Lay ’22 (Psychology)

Reid Mckeel ’22 (Pre Law)

Dr. Scott McElreath, professor of Philosophy, has been working with them since the Fall 2021 semester. Students received their acceptance in October and began to prepare immediately, said Alvarez-Molina. 

“I was nominated and accepted to become a part of the Ethics Bowl team in the beginning of October, and we began preparations right away,” said Alvarez-Molina.

The group met every Monday from October to February to go over case studies with ethical issues in several practical contexts. Part of the students’ work with McElreath is preparing responses to these questions and the best solutions, which can involve research, writing, and oral presentation.

The Ethics Bowl took place via Zoom this year due to COVID. As a result, the competition, usually a two-day event held at one of the participating colleges in North Carolina, was shortened to just a few hours. 

“Preparing for the Ethics Bowl was a rewarding challenge because it showed me the thrill of debate,” said Argentina. “Being undefeated is the best feeling in the world because it shows how hard our team worked!”

On behalf of WPU, congratulations to Mike, Reid, Argentina, Colin, and Dr. McElreath on their impressive performance at this year’s NCICU Ethics Bowl!