Organizing an NHSEB regional competition provides an opportunity for high school students to think analytically about complex issues. NHSEB understands that people who are interested in organizing a regional competition may have other full-time jobs and commitments. NHSEB prefers University affiliations to organize and host regional competitions, but realize high school teachers or administrators may want to take on this role.
Partnering with a Philosophy Department, Ethics Center, or other Humanities Departments provides students with an quality academic experience and sustainable competition. Philosophy faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduate students can provide coaching assistance to educate teams about ethical theory and develop effective lines of reasoning. Faculty members and graduate students across a campus can serve as judges and moderators for the competition as well as surrounding community members. Additionally, a University is an ideal setting to host a regional competition.
Regional high school ethics bowl competitions also known as “regionals” or “regional bowls” are run under the auspices of the NHSEB and are found across North America. Teams are required to participate in a Regional closest to their high school’s geographical area. Regionals follow the NHSEB Rules, Procedures, and Guidelines. Each regional competition is recognized by the NHSEB as Large or Small competitions.
Large Regionals are bowls with the most number of competing schools in the regional field. The winning school of a Large Regional will automatically advance to the Nationals.
Small Regionals are bowls with the lowest number of competing schools in the regional field. The winning school of a Small Regional will compete in a Virtual Playoff against the winner of another Small Regional. The winner of the Virtual Playoff will advance to the Nationals.
Below is a video showcasing the Michigan High School Ethics Bowl. It is a great introduction to regional high school ethics bowls across the US and to the mission of the NHSEB.
The NHSEB season takes place in early September and runs through the beginning of February. The Nationals occur in April at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The majority of competitions take place in January. Regionals are categorized as small or large depending on how many high schools (not teams) are registered. Large regionals receive an automatic bye into the National competition while small regionals advance to a virtual playoff that consists of one round. The winner of a virtual bowl will compete at the Nationals. More and more regionals will become small as the NHSEB grows, since we use virtual playoffs to narrow the total field of regional winners down to 24 — the number of spots available at the Nationals.
Before starting the process of setting up an ethics bowl, it is important to read the NHSEB Rules, Procedures, and Guidelines to get an understanding of the multiple moving parts in the competition. Additionally, the NHSEB has created a helpful step-by-step guide to organizing a regional competition.
The NHSEB season begins in early September with the release of the regional case set and concludes in early February. Regional organizers decide when it is best to host their regional competition. NHSEB advises organizers to provide teams with at least two months of preparation time. When scheduling a competition please be aware of other high school academic events: ACT, SAT, Speech and Debate tournaments, Winter Break, and Exam Days.
When the NHSEB season concludes, there is a month long period for Virtual Bowl Playoffs. The Virtual Bowl Playoffs are organized by the Parr Center for Ethics in communication with winning teams from small regionals. The Playoff will consist of a single match between two teams and the winner advances to he Nationals. After all Virtual Bowl Playoffs are completed, the NHSEB releases the National case set. Teams have another two months to analyze and prepare in anticipation for the National competition held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill each April.
Please visit throughout our website for many helpful resources! Most importantly, check out our Rules and Official Documents page for resources tailored specifically to regional organizers.
Here is a list of regional bowls that are great examples to follow if just you’re starting out!