Each year since 1979, the AIS has attracted scholars and administrators from across the country and more recently from around the world as well with a keen interest in developing and promoting research, pedagogy, and programs in integrative and interdisciplinary studies. In recent years, 150-250 participants from over 35 states and 10 countries, representing colleges, universities, community colleges, professional associations, and graduate schools have gathered annually to present the products of their research and practice, to network with others about recent developments in integrative studies, and to draw upon the resources of the AIS.

The President, Executive Director, and Conference Liaison of AIS will be happy to work with you in the development of a proposal and, should it be approved, on efforts to promote a successful conference.  Contact information can be found in the AIS Board Directory.

Many former hosts on the Board and in the membership of the Association are available as well for encouragement and advice. We hope that you will take this opportunity to forge an institutional partnership with the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Goals and Purpose

The following excerpt from the AIS by-laws will acquaint you with the goals of the Association:

The Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (formerly Association for Integrative Studies) was founded in 1979 to promote the interchange of ideas among scholars and administrators in all of the arts and sciences on both intellectual and organizational issues related to furthering integrative studies. It is incorporated as a non-profit educational association in the state of Ohio and recognized as such by the IRS. The purposes of the Association are given in the AIS Mission, Vision, and Core Values Statement. 

The Association publishes the Integrative Pathways newsletter quarterly as well as the annual journal, Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies. The 2020-2022 AIS President is Jennifer J. Dellner, Ocean County College, Toms River, New Jersey. For membership information, contact the AIS Office at [email protected]. The Conference Liaison from the Board is Roslyn Abt Schindler, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan [email protected].

The role of the Annual Conference in Strategic Planning

This section will help you to become acquainted with the role of the conference in the Association’s strategic planning, the characteristics of institutions that have hosted effective conferences, and the benefits that have been associated with conference planning. The Annual Conference plays a pivotal role in bringing forward the goals of the AIS, particularly in creating a broad-based professional home for committed interdisciplinarians and a national clearinghouse of information on integrative and interdisciplinary approaches to the discovery, transmission, and application of knowledge. Many well-established integrative programs have gained their impetus from campus team involvement in AIS conferences, with both faculty and administrators participating in the AIS Orientation Plenary and reviewing case studies and literature from a wide range of institutions. Individual faculty members have prospered from a network for problem-solving and for collaborative research and teaching.

Each conference offers a new and often unique opportunity to reinforce these goals, based upon the themes put forward by the hosting school in collaboration with AIS. AIS has strongly supported conference themes that bridge both applied and theoretical areas, that promote consideration of the wider implications of individual cases, and that engage participants in a dialogue across disciplinary and institutional boundaries. Threaded through the conference are Board-led sessions that help to highlight, synthesize, and cultivate new directions for interdisciplinary practice and research. At the same time, the AIS has welcomed the opportunity to highlight special programs at host institutions in order to feature the integrative and interdisciplinary work of a wide range of colleges and universities. The host institution’s choice of a nationally recognized conference keynoter or keynote program/panel has also offered an opportunity to highlight a different feature of integrative or interdisciplinary work, performance, or study each year.