Greetings College of Business Alumni:

The NIU College of Business will play host to the 2015 Regional Ethics Bowl Competition next year. We would like to extend an offer to NIU alumni to be involved as a judge this year to learn more about the process and be prepared to judge again next year at NIU.

Below, you will find correspondence from the organizers of this year's competition. If you are interested in participating this year as a judge, please utilize the contact information listed below and contact the organizers by Monday, November 10th. NIU students will be working at this year's conference to better prepare us for next year. We hope to see you there!

Good morning,

We would like to cordially invite you to serve as a judge for the Upper Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl, coming up on Saturday, Nov. 15th, hosted by Harper College, in Palatine IL. The Ethics Bowl is an academic competition that asks teams of students to think carefully about ethical issues across disciplines and to display their thoughtful analysis in the form of a collegial discussion, and it is truly an exciting thing to watch students showing the kinds of skills we all value, especially including the ability to think critically about ethical issues with an eye towards solutions.

Here is a bit of background on the Ethics Bowl, to help to further explain the goals of the competition:

  • The Ethics Bowl was created by Bob Ladenson at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and has grown tremendously over the years, from an invitational tournament involving 8 schools, to a national competition with qualifying regional tournaments, one of which is the Upper Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl.
  • The competition features case studies in ethics, which teams receive about two months in advance. These cases present ethically complex situations and teams of students are charged with thinking carefully about the cases for several weeks, so that, in the competition, they are ready to address whatever case happens to be chosen, and are ready to field any moderator's question they might face (as they will not know these things in advance).
  • Unlike a debate, teams are not rewarded for rhetorical style or for persuasiveness. The focus instead is on demonstrating that a position taken by a team comes from careful deliberation of the ethical issues involved, and teams are indeed rewarded for being able to show an awareness of good arguments against their position. Additionally, the opposing team provides a commentary on the presenting team's case, not a rebuttal, so the process is supposed to mirror a more collegial style of shared inquiry, rather than the adversarial tone of a debate.

If you would be interested in judging, please reply to this email no later than Monday, November 10th so that we can get you all of the relevant materials. For those interested, you'll be happy to know that there is a new judge's training video that early reviews are saying is quite useful to newcomers and veteran judges alike.

The Ethics Bowl's greatest resource, beyond the enthusiasm of the students, comes from the enthusiastic participation of volunteers serving as judges. So, we hope you are able to serve as a judge this year. We look forward to hearing from you.


John Garcia and Brett Fulkerson-Smith
Co-Coaches of the Harper College Ethics Bowl Team
and hosts of the 2014 UMWREB

Please contact us or or by phone at 847-925-6402, if you have questions or would like to volunteer.

Dr. William C. McCoy
Director, BELIEF
Northern Illinois University
College of Business
Dekalb, IL 60115