Association for Interdisciplinary Studies
Oakland University - Macomb County
44575 Garfield Road (Bldg. UC2, Suite 103)
Clinton Township, MI 48038

The AIS Annual Conference

The AIS Annual Conference

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.
AIS Conference
38th Annual AIS Conference

Dates:  Thursday, October 27 - Saturday, October 29, 2016
Host Institution:  University of Ottawa 
Theme:  “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Health, Wellness and Sustainability”  
Coordinators: Professors Karen Phillips and Angus McMurtry
Contact for more information.

Conference Plans
39th Annual AIS Conference
Dates:  TBD, 2017
Host Institution:  University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Coordinator:  Professor Stephen Freeland

40th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: TBD, 2018
Host: Wayne State University
Coordinator: Professor Roslyn Schindler
41st Annual AIS Conference
Dates: TBD, 2019
Host University of Amsterdam
Coordinator: Professor Machiel Keestra
37th Annual AIS Conference
Dates:  Thursday, October 22 - Sunday, October 25, 2015
Host Institution:  Merrimack College, North Andover, MA
Theme:  "Impact for the Common Good?"
Coordinator:  Professor Laura Hsu  
Contact for more information.

36th Annual AIS Conference
Dates:  October 16-19, 2014
Host Institution:  Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Theme:  Interdisciplinary Public Problems, the Global Community, and Diversity
Coordinators: Mark Largent, Associate Dean, Lyman Briggs College, and Associate Professor, James Madison College,; Colleen Tremonte, Professor, James Madison College,; and Aaron McCright, Associate Professor, Lyman Briggs College,
Conference Website

35th Annual AIS Conference
Dates:  November 7-10, 2013.
Host Institution:  Miami University's Western Program, Oxford, Ohio, in partnership with the Bachelor of Integrative Studies Program, the Honors Program, and other interdisciplinary programs at Miami.
Keynote Speakers:  Carl Zimmer and Carolyn Haynes
Theme:  "Integrating Arts and Sciences." Deadline to submit proposals online is April 15, 2013.
Contact:  Nik Money, Western Program Director,

34th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: October 11-14, 2012
Host Institution: Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan
Theme: "Public Policy and the Promise of Interdisciplinary Dialogue."
Contact:  Scott L. Crabill, Director, Integrative Studies Program,

33rd Annual AIS Conference
Dates: October 13-16, 2011
Host Institution: Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Theme: Traditions and Trajectories: Interdisciplinarity and Integrative Learning
Contact: Judy Whipps, Liberal Studies Department,

32nd Annual AIS Conference
Dates: October 7-10, 2010
Host Institution: San Diego State University
Theme: "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Integrating Ethics and Sustainability."
Call for Proposals
Presenter Biographies
Contact: Stuart Henry, 2010 Conference Coordinator. E-mail:
Documents on Related Topics:  The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has released Sustainability Curriculum in Higher Education: A Call to Action, available free on the AASHE website.

Recognizing the scale of the challenges faced by higher education and the urgency with which changes must be addressed, AASHE’s Call to Action was produced not only to stimulate discussion but to promote activity that will increase the scale and scope of education for sustainability. The 13-page report is a culmination of the ideas presented during AASHE’s Summit on Sustainability in the Curriculum, held February 25-27, 2010, in San Diego, California.

31st Annual AIS Conference
Dates: October 8-11, 2009
Location/Institution: University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Theme: "Creativity and Play Across the Disciplines"
Keynotes: Timothy K. Eatman, Director of Research for the Imagining America project and Assistant Professor of Education at Syracuse University, discussed Imagining America's Tenure Team Initiative Report; Joe Trimmer of the Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry and Mr. Paul Jones, art collector and civil rights pioneer and Dr. Amala Amaki, curator and art historian, spoke during luncheon programs.
Special events: Friday night music festival featuring the Red Mountain band and the Alabama Blues Project, and a choice of excursions to the Moundville Archaeological Park, Westervelt-Warner Musem, or a campus civil rights tour.
Conference workshops: "Nuts and Bolts of IDS Development and Assessment," presented by Pauline Gagnon, University of West Georgia, and Allen Repko University of Texas at Arlington; special fee, $25.
Other special sessions: An International Participants; Breakfast Table; and Breakfast GUIDE Sessions, small group discussions with AIS Board members on topics relating to interdisciplinary education and/or AIS.
Registration fees: $325, member; $375, non-member; $150, student.
Conference Coordinator: James Hall, Director, New College, The University of Alabama.
Number of registrants: 160, from across the country and around the world, with about one in three attendees coming from southeast United States.

30th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: October 23-26, 2008
Location/Institution: University of Illinois at Springfield
Theme: Interdisciplinarity and the Engaged Citizen: Integrating Higher Education, Public Policy, and Global Action
Keynotes: "Comments on Interdisciplinarity, Higher Education, and Public Policy on the 30th Anniversary of AIS," delivered by Raymond C. Miller, past AIS president and founding editor of Issues in Integrative Studies (Friday); and "The Problem of Wrongful Conviction: Students Linking Theory and Practice," by Dr. Larry Golden, co-director, Downstate Illinois Innocence Project, and professor emeritus, University of Illinois at Springfield (Saturday).
Special events: "Centennial of Fire: Reflections on the Springfield Race Riot of 1908," lecture by Roberta Senechal De La Roche, professor of history, Washington and Lee University; and dinner/reception at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
Conference workshops: "Nuts and Bolts of IDS Development and Assessment," presented by Pauline Gagnon, University of West Georgia, and Allen Repko University of Texas at Arlington; "Experiential and Service Learning Programs," presented by Elaine Rundle-Schwark, University of Illinois at Springfield, and Kathie Guthrie, Florida State University; and Center for State Policy and Leadership workshop on approaches to engaging students in public policy processes, presented by Tony Halter, Barbara Van Dyke-Brown, and Kent Redfield, University of Illinois at Springfield. Fee for each workshop: $25.
Other special sessions: GUIDE Sessions, small group discussions with AIS Board members on topics relating to interdisciplinary education and/or AIS. Topics included: Administration (James Hall and Stuart Henry), Assessment (Allen Repko and Don Stowe), Curriculum (Pauline Gagnon and William Newell), Hosting an AIS conference (Roslyn Abt Schindler), Issues in Integrative Studies and IDS Research and Scholarship (Joan Fiscella and Francine Navakas), Scholarship of (Interdisciplinary) Teaching and Learning - SoTL (Rick Szostak), Securing Positions in IDS (Tanya Augsburg), and IDS and Honors (Karen Moranski).
Registration fees: $300, member; $350, non-member; $150, student; $200, retired; $75, single day registration.
Conference Coordinator: Karen Moranski, Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education and Associate Professor of English, University of Illinois at Springfield.
Number of registrants: 160, including 94 first-time attendees. Attendees came from 26 states, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, Australia, and Canada.
Number of presenters: 124 for 96 submitted proposals.

29th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: September 27-30, 2007
Location/Institution: Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
Theme: "Interdisciplinarity at the Border: Creating, Thinking, and Living New Knowledge"
Keynote: "The Integrated Self Crosses Boundaries Daily: Learning to Access the Courage to Keep Moving," presented by Dr. Amira de la Garza, Associate Professor, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Arizona State University, and Acting Director, North American Center for Transborder Studies.
Conference Workshop: "The Nuts and Bolts of Integrative Syllabus Design,"presented by Pauline Gagnon, University of West Georgia; Allen Repko, University of Texas/Arlington, and Marcia Bundy Seabury, University of Hartford. Registration, $25.
Other Special Sessions : GUIDE Sessions, small group discussions with AIS Board members on understanding interdisciplinary education on the topics of: Administration (Cheryl Jacobsen and Karen Moranski); Assessment (Don Stowe and Allen Repko); Curriculum (Pauline Gagnon and William Newell); Hosting an AIS Conference (Roslyn Abt Schindler); Issues in Integrative Studies & Interdisciplinary Research/Scholarship (Joan Fiscella and Francine Navakas); Scholarship of Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning (Deborah DeZure); and Securing Positions in Interdisciplinary Studies (Tanya Augsburg).
Other events: Performances by Odds Bodkin, award-winning performance storyteller, author, musician and educator, and the Jersey Boys, winner of the 2006 Tony Award ($55 registration); and tours of the ASU campus, the Heard Museum ($20 registration), Taliesin West ($35 registration), and the Desert Botanical Garden ($55 registration).
Registration Fees: $275, member; $325, non-member; $150, student member; $175, student non-member.
Conference Coordinator: Kelly Nelson, Senior Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Studies Program, Arizona State University.
Number of attendees: 167

28th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: October 5-8, 2006
Location/Institution: Westin/Atlanta North Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia; hosted by Emory University and Oxford College of Emory University and co-hosted by the University of West Georgia
Theme: "Bridge-Building: Connecting Hearts and Minds, Arts and Sciences, Teaching and Research, Academy and Community."
Keynote: Louis Dupré, T.L. Riggs Professor Emeritus of Philosophy of Religion at Yale University, speaking on "Symbolic Variety, Philosophical Unity." He is the author of The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture (Yale University Press).
Special Conference Workshops: "Integrating Hearts and Minds: The Cognitive-Affective Connection in Teaching and Learning," Dr. Patti Owen-Smith, Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies, Oxford College of Emory University; "The Nuts and Bolts of Integrative Syllabus Design,"AIS board members, Pauline D. Gagnon, Professor of Theatre, University of West Georgia, Carolyn Haynes, Director of the Honors and Scholars Program, Miami University, and Tanya Augsburg, Senior Lecturer, Arizona State University.
Plenary Book Conversation: Session with Julie Thompson Klein, relating to her recently published work, Humanities, Culture and Interdisciplinarity: The Changing American Academy, and moderated by Carolyn Haynes, former AIS President.
Other special sessions: A keynote panel on "Bridging the Gap"; and opportunities for consultations with AIS Board members serving as GUIDEs or G(uides) to an U(nderstanding) of I(nter)D(isciplinary) E(ducation) in six areas: Teaching IDS Courses, Administering IDS Programs, Assessing IDS Learning, Publishing in IDS, Faculty Development in IDS, and Fundraising for IDS Programs.
Registration Fees: $315, member; $365, non-member; $200, students.
Conference Coordinators: Gretchen Schulz, Associate Professor of English/Humanities, Oxford College of Emory University; and Kevin Corrigan, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of Medieval Studies in the Institute of Liberal Arts, Emory University.
Approximate number of attendees: 200

27th Annual AIS Conference - Joint Conference with Association for General and Liberal Studies
Dates: October 6-9, 2005
Location/Institution: Hyatt Fair Lakes, Fairfax, VA, George Mason University and Virginia Tech
Theme: "Integrations: Liberal Learning in a Diverse World"
Subtopics: Trends in international, multicultural, interdisciplinary and liberal education; integration of curricular and co-curricular learning; service-learning and experiential learning possibilities; innovative student leadership programs; and mechanisms for assessing integrative learning in diverse student populations.
Keynote(s): Randy Bass, "Building a Culture of Learning in the 21st Century"; Jane R. Spaulding, "Paving the Road to Hell: American Higher Education's Quest to Internationalize"; Nathanael Pollard, "The Emerging 'Science of Learning'"
Preconference Workshops: George Mason University
Plenary and other special sessions: "Getting to Know the Association " Breakfast, "Learning About the Capital Region: A Brief Exploration," Dinner Circles, Group Activities - An Evening in Old Town Alexandria, An Evening with the Capital Steps, or Fall Wine Tasting and Sunset Tour of Mount Vernon
Registration Fees: $215-$285 ($135 for students)
Conference Coordinator: Janette Kenner Muir ( and Ron Daniel
Approximate number of attendees: 200

26th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: October 13-17, 2004
Location/Institution: Charlotte, NC, Johnson C. Smith University
Theme: "Practices of Integration: Improving Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning"
Subtopics: Integrating knowledge among disciplines and cultivating new forms of interdisciplinary knowing, learning and acting in the world; practices of interdisciplinary theory; practices of design; practices of implementation; practices of assessment; and practices of reflection.
Keynote(s): Elizabeth Minnich, "Reflections on the Wellsprings of Interdisciplinary Studies and Transformative Education"
Conference Coordinator: Dr. Donald Mager (
Approximate number of attendees: 150 representing 68 colleges and universities.
Special features of the conference: It was the first hosted by an HBCU (Historic Black Colleges and University) and was the farthest south of any in the organization's history. With 68 colleges and universities represented, it was the most diverse in terms of participation in the history of AIS.

25th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: October 9-12, 2003
Location/Institution: Detroit, Wayne State University
Theme: Integration, Collaboration, and Partnership: Expanding the Scope of Interdisciplinary Studies
Subtopics: Building active organizational partnerships; K-16 across the disciplines; challenging the directions of interdisciplinary studies; creating new knowledge with interdisciplinary studies; border crossings; interdisciplinary approaches to social, multicultural, and global issues; interdisciplinary studies advocacy; cutting-edge interdisciplinary theory; designing interdisciplinary curricula; interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinarities
Keynote(s): Carol Geary Schneider, "New Frontiers in Integrative Learning"
Preconference Workshop: Detroit Institute of Arts
Plenary and other special sessions: "Getting to Know AIS" Breakfast, Final Reflection Session, Historical and Cultural Tour of Detroit
Fees: $295-$375 ($195 for students)
Conference Coordinator: Roslyn Abt Schindler ( and Stuart Henry (
Approximate number of attendees: 200

24th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: Oct. 3-6, 2002
Location/Institution: Springfield, MO; Drury University
Theme: The Liberating Arts: Global Connections and Challenges
Subtopics: Liberating arts; integrative mindset; pedagogy of liberation; cross-cultural communication; integrative team teaching; service learning as form of liberation; study abroad programs; global citizenry and global involvement; liberating arts and technology
Keynote(s): Dr. Susan C. Herring, "Computer-Mediated Discourse Analysis: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Studying Online Behavior"
Preconference Workshop: Creating an interdisciplinary model for general education
Plenary and other special sessions: "Welcome to AIS"; book discussion on Bernard Lewis's What Went Wrong
Fees: $275 for members; $315 for members
Conference Coordinator: Dr. Hue-Ping Chin,, (417) 873-7427Hotel: University Plaza Holiday Inn and Conference Center
Approximate number of attendees: 120

23rd Annual AIS Conference
Dates: Oct. 4-7, 2001
Location/Institution: Roanoke, VA; Virginia Tech University
Theme: Globalizing Interdisciplinary Pedagogy and Research
Subtopics: scholarly activism; building community using the arts; internationalizing course content, interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks, interdisciplinary methodologies; study abroad
Keynote(s): Nikki Giovanni, "The Poet as Interdisciplinarian"
Preconference Workshop: Tools for Globalizing a Leadership Forum
Plenary and other special sessions: Allen Hammond (World Resources Institute) "Globalization That Works for Everyone"; book discussion on Thomas L. Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization
Fees: $275 for members; $315 for non-members
Conference Coordinator: Nancy Simmons; (540) 231-8100;
Hotel: Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center
Approximate number of attendees: 129

22nd Annual AIS Conference

(jointly sponsored with Society for Values in Higher Education)
Dates: Oct. 5-8, 2000
Location/Institution: Portland, OR; Portland State University
Theme: Interdisciplinarity: Values in Conflict
Subtopics: institutional values and integrative work; value dimensions in interdisciplinary courses; interdisciplinarity in ethical and moral development; civic responsibility/community partnerships in interdisciplinary work; the sacred and the profane as rich topics for interdisciplinary work; pedagogical methods
Keynote(s): Panel entitled "Columbia Basin as Metaphor for an Interdisciplinary Approach" Panelists included Linda Olds (Professor of Psychology, Linfield Colege; Bill Land, Center for Columbia History; and Elizabeth Furse, Oregon Congresswoman)
Preconference Workshop: Portand State University's University Studies Program (an interdisciplinary general education program)
Fees: $300 for members; $340 for non-members
Conference Coordinator: Sherry Stock; (503) 721-6520;
Hotel: Doubletree Hotel (downtown)
Approximate number of attendees: 141

21st Annual AIS Conference
Dates: Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 1999
Location/Institution: Naperville, IL; North Central College
Theme: Border Crossings: Bringing Integrative Studies Into the 21st CenturySubtopics: literal, metaphorical forms of border crossings; border crossings within the curriculum; interdisciplinary approaches to thinking about political and cultural border crossings; dialogues among educators in colleges and primary/secondary schools; internationalization of integrative studies
Keynote(s): Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago Professor of Law and Divinity)
Preconference Workshop: Technology and Interdisciplinarity
Conference Coordinator: Francine Navakas; (630) 637-5285;
Hotel: Radisson Lisle-Naperville Hotel and Conference Center

20th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: Oct. 8-11, 1998
Location/Institution: Detroit, MI; Wayne State University
Theme: Building Bridges Across Disciplines and Cultures
Subtopics: internationalization of interdisciplinarity; interdisciplinarity in the information age; knowledge, power and interdisciplinarity; building active institutional partnerships; interdisciplinarity and adult education; interdisciplinary implications for social change; interdisciplinary curricula and the business community; the future of interdisciplinary studies; advancing interdisciplinary graduate criteria
Keynote(s): Thomas H. Murray (Professor of Biomedical Ethics, Case Western Reserve), "Anticipating the Ethics of Genetic Enhancement: Why Bioethics Must be an Interdisciplinary Field"
Preconference Workshop: "The Web as Instructional Tool"
Plenary and other special sessions: "Welcome to AIS"; book conversations on Julie Klein's Crossing Boundaries and on Thomas Murray's The Worth of a Child
Fees: $260 for members; $300 for non-members
Conference Coordinator: Linda Hulbert;; (317) 577-6567Hotel: Doubletree Hotel (downtown)
Approximate number of attendees: 100

19th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: Oct. 23-26, 1997
Location/Institution: Boone, NC; Appalachian State University
Theme: Tales of Transformation
Subtopics: transformation theory; experiential strategies for transformation; transformation through integrative pedagogy and narrative
Keynote(s): Orson Scott Card, "Storytelling and Community"
Preconference Workshop: "Constructing a Course Website on the Internet"
Plenary and other special sessions: Karen Erickson, "Exploring Images of Transformation" (an experiential session); guided hikes, ropes activities, woodlands barbecue with square dancing
Fees: $230 for members; $275 for non-members
Conference Coordinator: Jay Wentworth and Cynthia Wood; (704) 262-3177;
Hotel: Broyhill Inn and Conference Center
Approximate number of attendees: 180

18th Annual AIS Conference
Dates: Oct. 3-6, 1996
Location/Institution: Ypsilanti, MI; Eastern Michigan University
Theme: Integrative Knowledges: Seeking Balance Among Theories, Methods, and Practices
Subtopics: roles of disciplines in interdisciplinary theories, methods and practices; disciplinary privilege and interdisciplinarity; logical, intuitive, aesthetic and affective dimensions of integration; assessment and interdisciplinarity
Keynote(s): Dr. Otto Feinstein (Wayne State University)
Conference Coordinator: Deborah DeZure;
Hotel: Marriott Golf and Conference Center

AIS Annual Conference (1979 to Present)


and Purpose
The Goals of the Association
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 2016-2017 AIS President is James Welch IV, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. For membership information, contact the AIS Office, Oakland University - Macomb, 44575 Garfield Rd., Bldg. UC2, Suite 103, Clinton Township, MI 48038 or email The Conference Liaison from the Board is Roslyn Abt Schindler, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202

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.