The Newell Award

The Newell Award for Exemplary Service honors William H. Newell, founding President and longtime Executive Director of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies and a leading voice for interdisciplinary studies in the U.S. Recipients are individuals who have distinguished themselves by contributions that support and enhance the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies.

In the minds of those who conceived the award, there was no question that it must bear the name of Bill Newell. Beginning with its founding in 1979 and continuing through more than three decades, he has been the central driving force for AIS and by extension interdisciplinary studies in the United States. His exemplary record includes organizational and leadership accomplishments, grant seeking and acquisition to benefit interdisciplinary studies, workshops on the teaching of interdisciplinary studies, mentoring colleagues in the areas of teaching, research and scholarship, and service, encouraging and authoring scholarship on interdisciplinary studies, and serving as a consultant and external evaluator on interdisciplinary higher education. His role within AIS has helped to broaden the scope and applicability of interdisciplinary studies worldwide and deepen the understanding of interdisciplinary studies among colleagues, colleges, and universities, here and abroad. As Executive Director, he supervises support staff, prepares budgets and oversees the finances of AIS, monitors current AIS membership and strategies to increase participation, provides day-to-day as well as visionary leadership for the Board of Directors and cultivates new members for the Board who bring in fresh ideas. He has provided AIS an institutional home at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he is a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, and he has successfully negotiated with the university for technical support, financial support, staff support, and other needs. For more than three decades, he has edited the Integrative Pathways newsletter, bringing the latest information about new books, interdisciplinary conferences and new perspectives on interdisciplinary studies to members on a regular basis. The Newell Award was established in 2009.

Award Criteria

The award is to be given to one whose service to the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies has made long-term contributions to its mission and vision. That service can take a variety of different forms:

  • Leadership and active membership on the Board of Directors, task forces, committees, and other AIS bodies.
  • Service as host, member of program or other committees, or coordinator for AIS conferences, and active conference participation ( e.g., presenting papers, moderating sessions, or conducting workshops).
  • Representation of AIS at other professional conferences, in other professional associations, or on inter-organization task forces.
  • Leadership in extending AIS into other countries, other levels of education (e.g., K-12 education, graduate education), or outside the liberal arts (e.g., professional education, research, or practice; governmental policy making and administration).
  • Development of new resources for members (e.g., a directory of interdisciplinary master’s degree program, a bibliography of publications on interdisciplinary studies, an AIS certificate for excellence in interdisciplinary general education programs).
  • Consulting.

Membership on the Newell Committee

The Newell Committee consists of the Board President as ex officio chair, a past recipient of the award, and two members not currently on the Board, who are elected by the general membership. The elected members serve a term of two years.


(1) Each year, members of the Association for Integrative Studies may nominate Newell Award candidates to the Newell Committee. Nominations should be sent c/o the AIS President. Nominators should submit a brief rationale and background along with the name. The AIS Board of Directors and the Newell Committee will encourage nominations for the Newell Award from the AIS membership through notices in the AIS Newsletter and via the website.

(2) Newell Committee members should refrain from nominating candidates for the Newell Award until their service on the committee is done. Committee members are ineligible for the award until their service on the Newell Committee has concluded.

(3) Each February, the Newell Committee will review the nominations and:

     (a) Recommend up to three nominees to the Board, along with its reasons. The Committee will decide whether or not to rank these names. In any year, the Committee may decide not to recommend anyone.

     (b) For informational purposes, make an annual report of persons nominated from the membership.

(4) The AIS Board will decide whether or not to make the Newell Award to a recommended candidate.

To Nominate

Please submit a Word document describing the nominee’s service in accordance with the criteria for the William H. Newell Award. Submit this, along with a curriculum vitae of the candidate, in an e-mail with “Newell Nomination” in the subject line to [email protected].