Don E. Stowe (2011)
Dr. Donald Earl Stowe has been a member of the Association since 1992. He was introduced to AIS when, as the newly appointed director of the BIS program at the University of South Carolina, he discovered in his new files an external evaluation report from a team headed by Executive Director Bill Newell. In that report he learned that there was a professional association actively discussing issues faced by his program, and he immediately joined.
Always soft-spoken, low-key and self-deprecating, Don viewed himself as a neophyte interdisciplinarian for some years and was content to listen to the presentations by the scholars who wrote the literature on interdisciplinary studies that he was reading and assigning to his students. His first conference presentations were on integrative pedagogy (1997) and adult learners (1998). It wasn’t until 1999 that he gave his first of nine conference presentations on assessment. A few years later, his focus expanded to the intersections of assessment and theory (2002) and then SOITL (2008). In 2000 he was elected as an At-large member of the Board of Directors, in which he held positions at every leve for nearly a decadel, most notably a two-year term as president from 2005-2007.
Don has provided leadership to AIS and to the entire interdisciplinary studies profession in three major areas of service and scholarship:
Assessment: For at least a decade Don has been the AIS voice on assessment. The year after his first AIS conference presentation on assessment in 1999, he took on the duties of chair of the AIS assessment committee. He published on assessment in Issues in integrative Studies (now Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies), in the AIS-sponsored book on Innovations in Interdisciplinary Teaching that Carolyn Haynes edited, and in journals for professionals in assessment and academic advising, and he prepared a new section on assessment for the AIS general education guidelines. He became an advocate for grounding assessment in interdisciplinary theory, and then for connecting assessment to the emerging Scholarship of Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning.
Telecast: In the fall 2004 meeting of the AIS Board of Directors, Don submitted a proposal (with all the details worked out) for a North American teleconference on “Interdisciplinary Studies Today” featuring experts from AIS as panelists. In late fall of the following year, Julie Klein, Bill Newell, and Carolyn Haynes were featured in a two-hour live teleconference beamed to 31 subscribing institutions in the U.S. and Canada. Somehow, he arranged for his institution to pay all the costs and for AIS to receive all the income, first from the teleconference itself and then for the sale of DVDs of the teleconference.AIS Website Redesign: In the second year of his AIS presidency, Don decided to assume full leadership responsibility for a major redesign of the AIS Website, a process that continued through his service as Past President. He ended up hiring a professional web designer, oversaw the redesign, and ended up paying for all cost overruns himself.
Don’s work has contributed to the growing rigor and professionalism of interdisciplinary studies, and its recognition in related fields. He has brought the work of AIS to the attention of dozens of institutions and many hundreds of faculty and administrators throughout North America. And he has updated and greatly expanded the presence of AIS on the Internet.
In recognition of his contributions to the Association and to the entire interdisciplinary studies profession, he was named a recipient of the William H. Newell Award for Exemplary Service in 2011.