Meredith College’s team earned second place in its division in the first Ethics Bowl sponsored by the North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU), February 10-11, 2012. Meredith also hosted this inaugural competition, which is meant to showcase ethics as a hallmark of the student experience at Meredith and other independent colleges and universities.
Meredith team members were Elizabeth Bodine, ’13, Mary Rawls,’13, Erica Rogers, ’13, Menjie Zhang, ’12, Mollie Schrull, ’14 and Saba Sodhi, ’15. Assistant Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies Steven Benko and Associate Professor of Business Jane Barnes served as faculty coaches. Director of Student Leadership and Service Cheryl Jenkins was the campus coordinator of this event.
The Meredith team was one of 14 teams from colleges and universities across North Carolina that competed in the Ethics Bowl. Other teams participating were Campbell University, Gardner-Webb University, High Point University, Livingstone College, Mars Hill College, Methodist University, Montreat College, Mount Olive College, St. Andrews University, Salem College, Shaw University, Wake Forest University and Wingate University. Wake Forest University earned first place, and High Point University took home the second place trophy.
Benko is proud of the Meredith team’s performance in its first NCICU Ethics Bowl. He credits the team for putting in many hours of preparation over a short time period.
“When I heard that we were competing against teams that prepared with semester long courses or participated in regional ethics bowls to prepare for this event —and we were winning our matches against those teams — my respect for how hard they worked only increased,” Benko said. “The students represented themselves and the college well. Most important, the team came out of this experience energized and enthusiastic about the experience.”
The teams competed in four rounds of debate, with each round involving a hypothetical ethical case. The teams prepared a five minute response to the scenario and presented their claim. The debates were scored by a panel of trained judges that include business and community leaders from across the state. The teams were evaluated on the quality of their argument, research, presentation style and moral theory.
“The students competing in the Ethics Bowl were most impressive,” said NCICU President Hope Williams. “They demonstrated impeccable judgment and strong ethical standards in their decision-making. It was exciting to see the interaction between these future leaders and our state’s current corporate and civic leaders.”
NCICU sponsored the event to provide an academic experience that increases awareness and discourse among students from NCICU colleges and universities about applying ethics in leadership, decision-making, interpersonal relations and other issues.
Benko believes the Ethics Bowl experience was beneficial for Meredith’s team.
“The students gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about ethical theory and how to apply ethical theory to the decisions that people in different types of professional jobs deal with every day,” Benko said.
Barnes agreed that Meredith’s students gained many skills from the Ethics Bowl experience, including critical thinking skills and the ability to work with students from a variety of majors.
“They had to think on their feet, in a stressful situation, and answer questions in an area, ethics in the work environment, with which many of them were unfamiliar,” Barnes said. “I also think that the students enjoyed the close relationship that developed between them and the faculty. As one of them wrote to me in a thank you note, ‘This has been exactly the kind of experience with my professors and fellow students that I came to Meredith College for.’”
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