The UM Ethics Bowl, formerly known as UM Ethics Debates, was conceived and funded by Karl and Teresa Schulze to heighten students’ awareness of the ethical components of real-life situations and to improve their debating and communications skills. The debate model is drawn from the national Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, which is held every year in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE).
Teams of undergraduate students from across the University of Miami compete by debating various ethical case studies based on real-life situations. Faculty, members of the UM Citizens Board, and friends of the University serve as judges for the debates, spending an entire day on campus as over fifty students engage in critical thinking and discussion.
Members of the winning team receive a cash prize to donate to the non-profit of their choice as well as the opportunity to compete at the Regional Ethics Bowl sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). The top four teams from the nine Regionals earn the opportunity to participate in the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Judges at this event are nationally recognized ethics experts.
The UM team upset perennial favorite U.S. Military Academy for top honors at the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl in 2007, and since then UM teams placed in the national event’s final four, mid-Atlantic region co-champion, and runner up twice in the National Bioethics Bowl in 2009 and 2010.
The ethics debates now enjoy an active alumni group of former participants who mentor and support current debaters.
Building upon the Ethics Bowl program and supported by student interest in medical ethics, the UM Ethics Society has twice participated in the National Bioethics Bowl, held in conjunction with the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference, sponsored by the American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities. UM placed second in both 2008, hosted by Union College, and 2009, held at Harvard University.