news-category: Academics

Gardner-Webb Team Attends North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Ethics Bowl

Four members of the Ethics Bowl Team pose
From left, Weston Pratt, Brandon Richmond, Micah Moulder and Rebecca Majorel represented Gardner-Webb in the NCICU Ethics Bowl.

Topics for 12th Annual Event Explore Ethics in Contemporary Society

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Artificial intelligence, mental health, and non-fungible tokens (NFT’s), a type of cryptocurrency in the art world, are a few of the topics that were debated under the umbrella of Ethics in Contemporary Society as part of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities’ (NCICU) 12th annual Ethics Bowl. Students from Gardner-Webb University joined others from 15 private college and university campuses across North Carolina for the event held recently at the North Carolina Legislative Complex in Raleigh.

“This is NCICU’s 12th annual Ethics Bowl, and the first in-person event since 2020. The broad theme of Ethics in Contemporary Society presents timely and important topics for discussion,” said NCICU president Hope Williams. “The Ethics Bowl is both academically challenging and an individually rewarding experience for our students. Determining ethical responses to complex situations leads to personal awareness and valuable discussion among team members and participating business and community leaders.”

Photos by Dr. Anna Sieges-Beal

Each Ethics Bowl team has four-to-six student members. Gardner-Webb’s team included:

  • Rebecca Majorel, junior, biblical studies.
  • Micah Moulder, junior, psychology and sociology.
  • Weston Pratt, freshman, Christian studies.
  • Brandon Richmond, junior, philosophy and English.

The NCICU Ethics Bowl is made possible by sponsorships that allow students to participate at no cost to themselves or their institutions. Dr. Anna Sieges Beal, assistant professor of religion, and Dr. T. Perry Hildreth, a professor of religion and philosophy, are the campus coordinators, who work with the students to help them prepare for the competition.

“Ethics Bowl is an exceptional opportunity for our students to engage with other students from North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities,” Hildreth commended. “It is a first-class event. The NCICU staff invest significant time and resources in the event, and it is impressive the number of volunteers from state politics and industry that are involved in the event. Every year, we hear praise for our students and their counterparts at other schools. Their mature and reflective engagement with some of the controversial issues of our day is encouraging.”

The competition consists of four rounds over the two-days, plus semi-final and final rounds. In each round, a specially developed case study outlining a complex ethical situation related to the theme will be presented to the teams for debate. The round is awarded to the team that makes the most sound, persuasive presentation. Three judges and one moderator participated in each match. Approximately 60 business, non-profit and government professionals volunteered to fill those roles.

Beal said after two years of virtual competition, everyone enjoyed coming back to the in-person event. “Our students did an excellent job conversing with students from other colleges and universities about complex topics like: artificial Intelligence, germline editing, the UN Security Council, and voting rights,” she praised. “I was very proud of our student’s poise and clear articulation of ethical responses to these topics. This year we were sponsored by Cherry Bekaert. We are grateful for their contribution.”

The two-day event also included a banquet for campus participants, judges, moderators, and sponsors held at the North Carolina Museum of History. Leslie Garvin, executive director of NC Campus Engagement, was the keynote speaker. NC Campus Engagement is a collaborative network of colleges and universities that champions civic and community engagement in higher education. Garvin has worked with the organization for 18 years and was named executive director in 2015.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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