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Ethics Bowl Team Places 3rd in the National Competition

  • By: Taylor Tatum
  • Published:
ethics bowl team after winning 3rd place

In a time when information is everywhere, discernment is hard to come by. That’s what Taylor University’s Ethics Bowl team is all about–considering real world dilemmas and discerning which positions are reasonable and Christ-honoring amongst competitors from different colleges and universities. 

The Ethics Bowl team recently competed in the national championship for the APPE Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl on February 24-25 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and placed 3rd in the nation out of the 36 teams that qualified to participate. This is the best that Taylor’s team has done since winning the national championship in 2015.

“Taylor has had a strong team for many years, and it’s exciting to see the students’ hard work pay off,” said Dr. Koert Verhagen, professor of Philosophy and Religion and coach for Taylor’s Ethics Bowl team. 

The Road to Nationals 

Simply qualifying for nationals is an achievement in and of itself, let alone placing. Taylor’s team qualified because they placed 3rd at the regional competition in the fall. To prepare for nationals, the governing body released 17 case studies that involve real world ethical dilemmas two months before the competition.

Students use those two months to analyze each case and draw conclusions. During the competition, teams go head-to-head for many rounds. Each team is guaranteed four rounds before getting cut. During the dialogue, the moderator can ask any question so students must be prepared. It’s important that students are well-prepared and work well together.

Ethics Bowl is uniquely structured in that students are not assigned a “pro” or “con” side but must identify various ethical considerations and engage in civil discourse with another team. In many ways, the goal is to identify ethical dilemmas, dialogue well, and come up with collaborative solutions.

“It’s a chance to talk about serious issues in a way that actually solves those issues,” said Taylor student Peter Schwark. 

Representing Christ 

Among the 140 universities that participate in Ethics Bowl, Taylor is one of the few evangelical Christian institutions represented, which provides a unique opportunity for students to represent Christ to their peers at secular or otherwise affiliated institutions. Taylor students work hard to analyze the ethical dilemmas in each case through the lens of biblical principles with empathetic considerations. They draw conclusions that are in line with their Christian convictions, but are also challenged to convince others who may not hold to Christian beliefs why their position is preferable.

“I believe in the importance of what these students do–thinking about matters that affect people globally and preparing to be advocates for Christ in the world,” said Verhagen.

Get Involved

All students are welcome to join the Ethics Bowl team. If you’re interested in grappling with significant cultural issues and working as a team to debate, connect with Koert Verhagen to learn more.