Students Place Second at Oklahoma Ethics Competition

November 14, 2014

Pictured, left to right: Dr. Rich Rudebock, professor of business, with winning students Ethan Colin, Michelle Hinton, Josh McGuire, Molly Burton and Blake McDowell.

The competing students from OBU were led by faculty sponsors and coaches including Dr. Rich Rudebock, Robert L. and Sara Lou Cargill Professor of Business; Dr. Vickie Ellis, professor of communication arts; Dr. Tawa Anderson, assistant professor of philosophy; and Dr. Matthew Arbo, assistant professor of biblical and theological studies.

The Oklahoma Ethics Bowl featured 16 teams from 11 universities competing from around the state. Teams are provided with eight ethical case studies to prepare prior to the competition. During each round of the match, one team is prompted to give an answer to the chosen case study and the opposing team responds to the first team's answer. The two teams participate in a moderated debate where each team has a set time to respond. The second half of the first round allows the second team to answer a new prompt and the first team to respond.

"The Oklahoma Ethics Bowl is an outstanding opportunity for the students to not only think more about the ethical implications of current events but also to improve their presentation skills and confidence in a pressured situation," Rudebock said. "For OBU, the cross-disciplinary collaboration was outstanding. We had faculty sponsors from business, communications studies, and philosophy. The students who participated had majors in management, computer information systems, international business, sociology, secondary education in social studies, communication studies, psychology, accounting, philosophy, international business, religion, and interdisciplinary studies."

"The Ethics Bowl competition offers students a unique approach to thinking about how our core values intersect some of the day's most important and interesting issues," Ellis said. "Hearing young scholars come together to assess big issues with even bigger implications is inspiring. The students do research and preparation, but they must also problem solve in real time and that is what makes the competition so rewarding."

The team took second place and a $1,500 prize, but were undefeated during the competition winning all three of their debate rounds. The first place team, Oklahoma Christian University, was also undefeated, but ended the competition with a higher point differential than the Bison team.

"When we learned of the OK Ethics competition, it seemed natural for us to compete," said Dr. David Houghton, dean of the Paul Dickinson College of Business at OBU. "Because of our Christian commitment, I believed that our students would have a strong ethical framework to draw upon for competitive purposes. Preparation for the competition also caused our students to sharpen their critical thinking skills as they faced complex ethical cases. Having our brand new team earn the second place trophy is a great affirmation of our students' ethical foundation."

Two OBU students, Molly Burton and Danielle Young will be representing OBU at the Regional Ethics Bowl in San Antonio Nov. 15. The regional competition will have the same format as the Oklahoma Ethics Bowl and will feature 16 schools, seven of which are from Oklahoma. In San Antonio, the teams will have the chance to qualify for the National Ethics Bowl later this year.