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CSUB Takes the Win in First Ethics Bowl Competition

On December 5, students from 15 colleges and universities in California participated in the California Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, hosted by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) in San Jose, California. California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) not only entered for the first time in history, but took first place overall in the competition. They will now advance to Nationals, which will take place in Reston, Virginia in February.

“I think it's a testament to the strength of the Philosophy program at CSUB that we entered as a school with no debate background, no pedigree in the event, and were able to win. This program and the professors do such a good job of teaching the fundamentals of philosophical thought,” said student and team member, Travis Rosenlieb. “I'm incredibly excited and feel a new sense of determination now that we're headed to the next level.”

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl gives students a chance to enter an academic competition that combines excitement and fun with an educationally valuable experience in the areas of practical and professional ethics. Students across the United States and Canada compete in 10 regional Ethics Bowl competitions each fall. Students argue and defend their moral assessment on a wide variety of issues, including business, engineering, journalism, law, medicine and social work. 

Dr. Debra Jackson, Associate Professor of Philosophy, helped lead CSUB to victory, along with her student team members: Erin Barker, senior, philosophy major; Josh Lofy, senior, physics and mathematics major; Pedro Naveiros, senior, philosophy and political science major and Travis Rosenleib, senior, philosophy major.

“We are so excited to be advancing to Nationals. I am so proud of the students and all of the hard work they put into this competition,” said team leader, Debra Jackson.

During the competitions, students demonstrate their ability to (1) understand the facts of the case, (2) articulate the ethical principles involved in the case, (3) present an effective argument on how the case should be resolved, and (4) respond effectively to challenges put forth by the opposing team as well as the panel of expert judges.

To prepare for Nationals in February, they will receive their cases on January 4, with only six weeks to prepare.

“This is the first time that CSUB has entered the Ethics Bowl and we couldn’t be happier about the results,” said Christopher Meyers, Executive Director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics. KIE, mainly through its generous Board member Gene Voiland, is a sponsor of the team, along with CSUB’s School of Arts and Humanities and a teaching grant from the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center. “I am very excited to see how they do in February.”

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