Gardner-Webb Students Put Their Minds and Ethics to the Test

Print Friendly

Annual NCICU Ethics Bowl Scheduled in Raleigh

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Select Gardner-Webb University students are in their final stages of preparation for the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) Ethics Bowl. Last year in the inaugural competition, the group placed third out of 14 participating schools, which included Mars Hill, Wake Forest and Wingate. This year’s event is to be held at Campbell Law School in Raleigh, N.C. on Feb. 8 and 9.

The NCICU Ethics Bowl has become an annual competition in which students address ethical issues by responding to specific case studies.  The event provides an academic experience that increases student awareness about applying ethics in leadership, decision-making, interpersonal relationships and other issues in today’s society.  According to the NCICU website, “The purpose of the competition is to emphasize the importance of being able to apply ethical standards to situations students inevitably will face as future local, state and national leaders.”

Four students, all from North Carolina, make up the GWU Ethics team.  They are Michaela Glover (Zebulon, N.C.), Tiffany Lother (Rutherfordton, N.C.), Andrea Thomas (Shelby, N.C.), and Zach Emory (Mooresboro, N.C.).

Kent Blevins, professor of religious studies at Gardner-Webb, serves as campus coordinator for the ethics team. Blevins is relieving associate professor of religious studies, Scott Shauf, who has led the team since its inception in the spring of 2011.

“NCICU provided us with 10 cases as part of our preparation.  Cases that actually happened,” said Blevins.  “During the event, our team will get one of those cases along with an unknown case.  Even with the case they are familiar with, they won’t know possible questions the judges will ask.”

Teams will be asked to prepare a five-minute response to the case and present their argument. Opposing teams will be given an opportunity to question the validity of each response. The round will end with a concluding statement given by each team.  A panel of trained judges that include business and community leaders from across the state will score the debates. Teams will then be evaluated on the quality of their argument, research, presentation style and moral theory.

“Each of our team members have been prepared to take on a different role during the competition.  For instance, one will state the facts, one shares the team’s position, and another provides a concise summary.  Judges look for broad participation from participants,” Blevins explained.

The Ethics Bowl gives students an opportunity to gain more than competitive interaction. “Through this experience, our students can gain a sense of team work, develop self confidence, and learn about community building,” Blevins shared.  “This is also a place for students to network and develop relationships.”

NCICU is comprised of North Carolina’s 36 private, non-profit liberal arts, comprehensive and research colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. NCICU represents independent higher education in the areas of state and federal public policy and on education issues with the other sectors of education in the state. It also provides research and information to and about private colleges and universities, conducts staff development opportunities and coordinates collaborative programs.  For more information, visit