OC ethics team takes third at national contest

RESTON, Virginia – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) took third place at the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl in Reston, Virginia.

OC’s student team swept Seattle Pacific University, Illinois Wesleyan University and Indiana University, and placed just ahead of the U.S. Naval Academy, to earn its highest national finish ever.

Oklahoma Christian placed fifth in 2014 and had another top-10 finish last year that featured wins over the University of Michigan and Clemson University.

Sophomore Seanhenry Vandyke said succeeding in a national competition requires a great deal of preparation and learning to approach every topic with an open mind.

“We reviewed various ethical perspectives on the moral dilemmas in the cases,” Vandyke said.

“Our debates, especially with strong competitors, required us to think sympathetically through the viewpoints of both sides and try to understand all the ethical nuances and perspectives that are applicable.”

Ethics team sponsor Jeff Simmons, dean of OC’s College of Business Administration, said one highlight of the contest was winning a debate by taking an unexpected stance on a challenging issue.

“Our team took a position on a case that is not what one would expect a team to take because it is counter to popular opinion,” Simmons said. “However, they presented a morally and ethically sound argument that won the respect of the judges and members of the audience.”

According to Simmons, OC’s ethics team members show their mental acuity when faced with strong competition.

“When students from OC are tasked with competing against teams from large schools like Indiana University or the U.S. Naval Academy, it can be somewhat intimidating. Yet, they always rise to the challenge,” Simmons said.

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl – sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics – was the final contest of the year for OC’s ethics team, but Vandyke said he plans to share his skills with a local school.

“We will not have practices the rest of the semester, but I am helping a private high school, the Oklahoma Institute of Science and Math, to start their own team for the Ethics Bowl,” Vandyke said. “I am really looking forward to that.”

Oklahoma Christian is ranked as one of the best universities in the western United States by The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. A recent study rated Oklahoma Christian as one of the best higher education values in Oklahoma, citing the university’s low net price combined with OC graduates’ high starting salaries.

OC offers undergraduate programs in more than 80 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, computer science, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.