Introduction to Museum Studies
MSTD A-503/MSTD A-403
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Larry J. Zimmerman and Elizabeth Kryder-Reid

Museum Studies Ethics Bowl, 2009

Ethics cartoonIn this class, all class members will participate in a class Ethics Bowl. Ethics Bowl is a competitive academic game modeled loosely on TV's "College Bowl."

Ethics are an extremely important element of any professional field, and Museums are no exception. In an effort to help you learn about museum ethics and to help to develop your abilities in ethical analysis and judgment, we would like to try doing ethics bowl in class. It will be a joint exercise between the undergraduate and graduate sections of the class. We intend the ethics bowl sessions to fun, but competitive educational.

Ethics Bowl has valuable educational applications. It demonstrates and reinforces the fact that ethical concepts and procedures have practical utility by asking you to face hypothetical moral dilemmas,  about the closest we can get in class to real-life ethical situations. Ethics Bowl also addresses concerns of both academic and professional realms by asking you to learn some of the theory of ethics.  But, you learn it by application, seeing yourself as a member of a community with shared values and virtues, and as individuals who are able to avoid or resolve concrete moral dilemmas that arise in the professional arena.

Student discussions of the Ethics Bowl questions stimulate participation from every student. The small group environment and an audience of peers encourage intellectual interaction. In addition, you have the opportunity to teach each other without the "threat" of  judgment of the instructor. In this way, we also hope to foster understanding of a key museum value, collaboration.

The links below will explain how the Ethics Bowl will work and give you some sample ethical dilemmas.

Ethics Bowl Structure

Ethics Bowl Rules & Procedures

Judges Guidelines

Preparing for Ethics Bowl

Sample Cases/Dilemmas

Judge Scoring Sheets

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Materials for these Ethics Bowl pages have been adapted from several Ethics Bowl web sites. These include:

Association of Professional and Practical Ethics
Center for Applied and Professional Ethics
The Society for American Archaeology Ethics Bowl