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 aegis of the NHSEB and occur annually across North America. Teams are required to participate in the regional closest to their high school’s geographical area. Unless otherwise specified, regionals follow the NHSEB Rules, Procedures, and Guidelines. Each regional competition is classified by the NHSEB as either large or small (in terms of the number of participating schools) for the purposes of creating a roster for the National competition in April:
- Large regionals are bowls with the most number of competing schools in the regional field. The winner of a large regional will automatically advance to Nationals.
- Small regionals are bowls with the lowest number of competing schools in the regional field. The winner 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 Nationals.
The NHSEB season typically runs from September to February. The Nationals occur each year 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. Winners of large regionals receive an automatic spot in the National competition while small regionals advance to a one-round virtual playoff organized and administered by the Parr Center for Ethics in collaboration with volunteer regional organizers and winning teams from small regionals. The winner of each playoff round will compete at 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 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.
Here are some regional bowls of various sizes which provide great examples to follow if just you’re starting out: