Assistant Professor Cat Saint-Croix Receives inaugural Award for Academic Unit Service

An image of Cat Saint-Croix in an interactive art exhibit drawing with large pieces of chalk.

In July, assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts, Cat Saint-Croix (she/they), received an inaugural Award for Academic Unit Service.

A collaboration between the Provost’s Office and the Faculty Consultative Committee, the Awards for Academic Unit Service recognize faculty for exceptional service that has strengthened the functioning and climate of a local unit or department. 

For Saint-Croix, the service that they’re most proud of is the introduction of the High School Ethics Bowl to the state of Minnesota.

The High School Ethics Bowl is an annual, national competition that “fosters constructive dialogue and furthers the next generation’s ability to make sound ethical decisions.” Students engage in a wide range of discussions with ethical case studies that are applicable to the everyday life of a highschooler.

“It’s a lot like debate, except that the goals are constructive, collaborative thought,” Saint-Croix said. “The idea is to provide a supportive, respectful environment that prepares high school students for the intellectual rigors of a college education.”

The Minnesota High School Ethics Bowl currently serves the Twin Cities Metro, but Saint-Croix hopes to introduce the program to schools across the state, especially rural and Native schools.

“The Ethics Bowl is at its best when it's most diverse,” she explained. “Communicating across differences is one of the most important skills of modern life, and it's one we can directly teach in the Ethics Bowl.”

Saint-Croix started the Minnesota High School Ethics Bowl in their first year at the University of Minnesota as a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Upon arriving at the university, she found “nothing but support” for the program from the Philosophy Department, and the program continues to be a collective effort every year.

“We work together and recognize one another's efforts,” said Saint-Croix. “It makes a huge task like the Ethics Bowl seem possible, when it would otherwise be overwhelming.”