The Department of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies at UA Little Rock hosts the annual Arkansas High School Ethics Bowl. The 6th Annual bowl will take place on January 27, 2018, and will feature a keynote address from Dr. Claire Katz (Texas A&M University). The winning team will advance to compete in the National High School Ethics Bowl.
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Last year’s bowl was held on January 28, 2017, and featured 14 teams representing eight schools from all across the state. John DiPippa, Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at the Bowen School of Law, gave the keynote address. Little Rock Central High School (pictured) won the bowl and represented Arkansas at the National Bowl. Conway Christian High School and Joe T. Robinson High School finished second and third respectively.
The 2017 Spirit of the Ethics Bowl Award – awarded by a vote at the conclusion of the competition each year by all of the participating students to the team that best embodied the Ethics Bowl’s spirit of civil discourse, collegiality, and collaboration – went to Elkins High School (pictured). Other participating schools included Cotter High School, Decatur High School, Episcopal Collegiate School, and Northside High School.
What is an Ethics Bowl?
Differing from long established debate competitions, the Ethics Bowl is a venue that encourages collaborative engagement in serious moral discourse. Teams consider and discuss cases drawn from current events, which range from social and political issues (voting rights, capital punishment, gun control), to environmental concerns (sustainable growth and development), to professional worries (hiring practices, workplace safety), to issues arising in the classroom (grade inflation, plagiarism). Teams have a couple of months to prepare the cases, though they do not know which of the cases they will discuss nor the specific question posed for a given case until they face another team. Teams from high schools across the country compete at the regional level, and winners then go to the national competition where one team emerges victorious. Emphasis is on reasoning and the ability to engage in civil, rational discourse rather than on persuasion and rhetorical technique. The scores of three judges who are recruited from both the academy and the local community determine winners. The competition can be fierce and the winning margins tight. Still, the atmosphere is unceasingly civil and collegial. (See these informational videos and other resources from the National Bowl.)
2016 Arkansas High School Ethics Bowl
The 4th Annual Arkansas High School Ethics Bowl took place on January 30, 2016. Arkansas State Senator Joyce Elliott gave the keynote address. Little Rock Central High School took first place. Episcopal Collegiate School came in second, and Decatur High School was third. The Spirit of the Ethics Bowl Award went to J. A. Fair High School. Other participating schools: Conway Christian School, Cotter High School, Hot Springs High School, Northside High School (Fort Smith), and Joe T. Robinson High School (Little Rock).
The registration deadline for the 2018 Arkansas High School Ethics Bowl was December 8, 2017. If you have a team that is interested in participating but have not yet registered, please contact the bowl organizers (contact info is below).
All participating schools need to register both with the UA Little Rock Department of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies and with the National High School Ethics Bowl organization.
Note that while the Arkansas High School Ethics Bowl does not charge a registration fee, the National High School Ethics Bowl organization requires payment of a $75 registration fee in order to be counted as a participating school and to be eligible to compete in the National bowl should your team win the Arkansas bowl. To pay this fee, and for more information, visit http://nhseb.unc.edu/registration/
(If the national fee presents an obstacle to your school participating, please contact us)
For more information about the Arkansas High School Ethics Bowl, contact:
Dr. Michael Norton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr. Jana McAuliffe (email@example.com)
Department of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Stabler Hall, Room 307
2801 S. University Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72204