A bowl game of sorts is coming to the University of North Georgia (UNG) on Saturday, Nov. 18.
What it will lack in pageantry — no cheerleaders, marching bands or cartoonish mascots — it will make up in academic prestige.
For the first time, UNG's Dahlonega Campus will host the Mid-Atlantic Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. The one-day, multi-institutional collegiate competition is held in partnership with the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). Clemson University had been the home of the event since 2012.
UNG will host 16 teams from 14 universities, including the University of North Carolina, Wake Forest University, University of North Florida and the University of Mississippi.
“It is an honor to host this year’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl,” said Dr. Donna Mayo, dean of the Mike Cottrell College of Business at UNG. “We are looking forward to having students, faculty, and staff from top-performing schools on campus, and the Ethics Bowl fits so well with the mission and activities of the BB&T Center for Ethical Leadership.”
"This was an opportunity that came out to all the schools within the Mid-Atlantic Region. We placed a bid, and Richard Greene, APPE chairman, made the decision to select UNG," said Rose Proctor, director of the BB&T Center for Ethical Leadership. "Clemson could no longer logistically host the competition."
This fall, hundreds of college students will compete in teams at 10 Regional Ethics Bowl competitions across the United States and Canada. The teams argue and defend their moral assessment of some of the most troubling and complex ethical issues facing society today.
Questions address a wide array of topics in business and professional ethics, in personal relationships, and in social and political affairs. The competition focuses on selected cases developed by APPE.
In the competitions, students demonstrate their ability to understand the facts and principles of the case, present an effective argument on resolving it and respond to challenges put forth by opposing teams as well as a panel of judges.
Teams compete in a debate-style format around the 15 regional cases published in fall 2017. There are four rounds, a semi-final round and a final round in the competition to determine the top teams that will advance to the national competition March 3-4, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.
"This event will bring in nearly 200 people to the Dahlonega area," Proctor said. "Having representatives from 14 universities on UNG's campus is great branding for us. It boosts the UNG brand both regionally and nationally."
UNG’s Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team was formed in 2014, allowing students to learn to defend their moral assessment on current ethical issues. The team first participated in the competition in the 2014-15 academic year, competing for a national title after placing at the regional competition.
To participate in the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team at UNG, students must be enrolled in the Business Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility course. This case study-driven course requires students to analyze complex business situations and form and justify plausible alternatives that reflect ethical concepts, concern for multiple stakeholder groups, and a range of decision-making criteria, processes and outcomes.
Richard Taylor Jackson, a senior majoring in marketing, said the team's dynamics are well-rounded. He considers his strengths as summarizing, wrapping up a case and drawing a conclusion while tying it all together.
"We've got some cadets on the team who are good at thinking under pressure, and a couple of other students who are really well-spoken and provide an alternative viewpoint—we have a good mix of people," the 23-year-old from Dallas, Georgia, said. "It means a lot to us, to uphold the UNG reputation, while giving the other schools a run for their money."
Students in the class who are not on the team help with preparations, acting as moderators, hosting the event while making sure things run smoothly.
Rachel Hagan, 22, a senior majoring in business management, has multiple roles behind the scenes, including assisting the panel judges, keeping time and asking questions as a panelist.
"The competition shows that understanding ethics is important in business and in life," Hagan said. "This is all about putting ethics to the test, to question your own sense of ethics, to see how others react to ethical situations and scenarios. It's all about doing the right thing."