Ethics Bowl

The UC Santa Cruz Center for Public Philosophy hosts and competes in the Northern California Regional High School Ethics Bowl (HSEB) every fall. HSEB is a national debate program emphasizing critical thinking, philosophical reflection, and respectful dialogue about pressing contemporary ethical issues. UC Santa Cruz has hosted the Northern CA Regional Bowl for four years.

The HSEB helps all participants see themselves as belonging at college and prepares them to succeed once they get here. In 2016, sixteen teams participated in the Regionals, but none from Local Control Funding Formula Plus (LCFF+) designated high schools. In 2017, student success funding was used to expand the reach of and access of the program to include LCFF+ schools, building upon the successful spring "Invitational," which was piloted in May, 2016.

The Invitational is a community-building ethics bowl event that introduces HSEB to low-income, underrepresented, or otherwise disadvantaged students and encourages LCFF+ schools to participate in the Regional HSEB in the fall. With these funds, the HSEB team was able to reach 8 new LCFF+ schools, provide more coaching and logistical support to each school, and have greater follow-up and mentorship for the students that participated in the Invitational. Each of the nine participating schools were coached by a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate student for six weeks or more, each received funding for transportation, food for students (important for students who are food insecure), and support for staff time and meeting space.

In addition, there was follow up with every team after the event, and staff were able to hold a Summer Summit for coaches and teachers to discuss and get input on improvements that could be made for future Invitationals. During the summer staff filmed testimonials, which culminated in a video, for use in future outreach.

Read more about the program and view the video.

Collaborators: Alisal High School (Salinas), Burton High School (San Francisco), Costanoa High School (Santa Cruz), DCP Alum Rock (San Jose), Diamond Technology Preparatory (Watsonville), Escuela Popular High School (San Jose), Latino College Preparatory Academy (San Jose), Luis Valdez Leadership Academy (San Jose), Pajaro Valley High School (Watsonville), Watsonville High School (Watsonville), Element Productions, Kyle Robertson, Mary Garcia, James Sutter, David Donley, Juan Ruiz Cortes, Francesca Hovagimian, Savannah Wadsworth, Jasmin Alemin, Nima Agah, Catherine Ramirez, Alan Christy, Nathaniel Deutsch, Judy Plummer, Irena Polic, Evin Guy, Jessica Guild, Brent Chapman, Scott Roseman, Stephen Marino

Lead Contact Name: Jonathan Ellis
Lead Contact Email:
Theme: Easing the Transition to College