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Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership
Stockdale statue photo

Innovation in Ethics

Ethics Bowls
Funded by Class of 1964

Since 2001, the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership has fielded teams for the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, sponsored by the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE), a Baltimore regional Ethics Bowl, and the annual Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles Business Ethics competition. The APPE and Baltimore regional competitions are similar to traditional debate competitions. In these competitions, teams discuss 15 cases involving moral dilemmas from public and private life and present solutions to panels of judges drawn from academia and the private sector. In the Los Angeles competition, teams analyze an ethical dilemma faced by an organization and develop and present recommended solutions to judges from the senior management ranks of various companies.

In preparation for the competitions, team members, and other interested midshipmen, meet a minimum of twice a week with Stockdale Center staff member Dr. Shaun Baker to analyze cases, rehearse arguments, and polish presentation skills. Annually, up to thirty midshipmen participate in the preparation sessions and competitions. The Stockdale Center selects the Naval Academy representatives for these competitions, funds the participants, and sends Dr. Baker as accompanying coach for the competitions.

Through the Ethics Bowl competitions, midshipmen hone their ethical reasoning and presentation skills, compete in an intense environment, and represent both the Naval Academy and the military to a primarily civilian audience. The Bowl teams' repeated successes are a testament to the effectiveness of the Naval Academy's ethics and leadership programs, as well as the mentorship of the Stockdale Center staff.

Ethics Simulations

The Stockdale Center has produced four ethical decision making simulations: Last Call, The Weekend, The Dream and The Party in partnership with WILL Interactive Inc., thanks to the generous funding from the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, Mr. Stephen G. Newberry, U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1975, and Mr. Paul E. Tuttle Jr., U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1967.

Participants in the simulations are immersed in a realistic world that they see on the computer screen. They are presented with a situation that has moral and ethical dimensions. The participants are then faced with a series of decisions. Because the simulation is interactive, every choice made leads the narrative in a different direction and brings ramifications and consequences. The decisions made affect the situation's outcome.

The simulations comes with a practical, step-by-step tool that walks the participant through a decision-making process, going from moral awareness through moral action. Learning to apply an ethical leadership decision-making model assists students in developing the moral "muscle memory" that will be required in high-stress, morally ambiguous situations. Difficult ethical decision making becomes easier when it is built on a foundation of ongoing practice. Learning to walk the steps from moral awareness is an indispensable skill for an ethical leader.

Low Ropes

The Stockdale Center supports the training of Navy and Marine Corps Faculty and Staff members to become qualified Low Ropes Facilitators. Low Ropes is a portable system that provides facilitators an opportunity to engage midshipmen in alternative learning environments in order to stress different aspects of teamwork and leadership; this includes topics such as trust, communication, planning, and critical thinking. Low Ropes combines tools and props such as steel beams, ropes, rubber mats, and balls with stories and scenarios to engage midshipmen in a fun and safe environment.

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