Gardner-Webb Students Compete in Annual Ethics Bowl

Print Friendly

By: Tyra Montour, Communications Intern

GWU's 2016 Ethics Bowl Team

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – For the fifth consecutive year, a team of students from Gardner-Webb University participated in the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) Ethics Bowl. The event was held Feb. 5-6 on the Meredith College campus near Raleigh, N.C., and featured 22 colleges and universities from around the state with the theme “Ethics in Technology.”

Dr. Kent Blevins, professor of religious studies, serves as coordinator for the Gardner-Webb team. Seniors Dylan Tate and Jeremiah Hamby were returning team members, while sophomore Harley Burgess and freshman Katie Gwaltney were newcomers this year.

“The activities challenged us to think spontaneously because we were given cases that we don’t have on a day to day basis,” said Tate. “That experience is one that you can use your skills in any kind of workplace or any kind of team later on in life.”

The NCICU Ethics Bowl is an annual competition in which students address ethical issues by responding to specific case studies. Participants are given 10 cases in advance as part of their preparation and then during the event, teams receive one of those cases along with an unknown case for the first time.  The event provides an academic experience that increases student awareness and discourse about applying ethics in leadership, decision-making, interpersonal relationships and other numerous issues in today’s society.

“This teaches the students several skills including presenting, articulating well and working well with a team. It definitely builds self confidence and I believe it was a valuable experience,” said Dr. Blevins.

A panel of trained judges, including business and community leaders from across the state, score the debates and evaluate teams on the quality of their argument, research, presentation style, and moral theory. Teams are scored on a range of different categories in a rubric.

Gardner-Webb competed against the University of Mount Olive (Mount Olive, N.C.), Campbell University (Buies Creek, N.C.), St. Andrews University (Laurinburg, N.C.) and Methodist University (Fayetteville, N.C.). GWU won three out of the four debates and was just a few points shy of the semi-final round. Barton College (Wilson, N.C.) won the competition and Methodist University finished second.

“You can call it a debate but the Ethics Bowl is a completely different atmosphere,” Hamby explained. “It’s an ethical approach to a case and you only have so much time to pick it apart. I was really impressed with the team as a whole, especially with two individuals who hadn’t competed before. Finishing 3-1 was a very good sign of what’s to come in the future.”

North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) is a non-profit corporation that represents North Carolina’s 36 private colleges and universities. The mission of NCICU is to support, represent, and advocate for North Carolina independent higher education. For more information, visit

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University seeks a higher ground in higher education, one that embraces faith and intellectual freedom, balances conviction with compassion, and inspires in students a love of learning, service and leadership.