University News

SUU Selected to Host International Interdisciplinary Conference in 2021

Published: April 13, 2018 | Category: Academics

Professor with students at computersSouthern Utah University has been selected to host the International Association of Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS) Conference from October 14-16, 2021. According to the AIS website, “it is an interdisciplinary professional organization founded in 1979 to promote the interchange of ideas among scholars and administrators in all the arts and sciences on intellectual and organizational issues related to furthering integrative studies.”

“This is huge for SUU, Utah and the Western United States,” said Cynthia Kimball Davis, Director of Graduate Programs and the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies degree. “We’re new AIS members and new to interdisciplinary on a graduate level. In fact, we’re the only interdisciplinary studies master’s degree in the state of Utah! The timing couldn’t be better.”

SUU’s Provost Brad Cook, a supporter of this conference, said, “SUU is honored to host the AIS annual conference in 2021. We feel SUU is a perfect venue for this conference because of our commitment to the values of interdisciplinary pedagogy.”  

Cook believes SUU has “been active in creating degrees and experiences that harness the educational power of interdisciplinary studies and are manifest in several distinct degrees offered here, such as: Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree (BIS), Bachelor in General Studies degree (BGS), and a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS).”  

In fact, these three interdisciplinary study degrees, provided either online, in hybrid format, and face-to-face options, have formed an interdisciplinary partnership and meet monthly to team in as many ways possible.

SUU’s Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS) degree is 100 percent online but does have hybrid options. Its first full cohort began in January 2018. There are five yearly start dates and the degree can be completed in five semesters or less.  There is no GRE, it’s under $12,000 (tuition only & except for international students living in the U.S.), and you choose what you study. You can also transfer in 9-graduate credits of the same discipline (credits have a life of ten years when earned).  

Additionally, the MIS degree allows students to build their own degree in over 80 combinations. Students pick their top three subjects to study called "study tracks". These self-chosen study tracks are the only courses a student takes besides one capstone course. Students can build-in multiple disciplines or career paths into one accredited degree. “This not only makes them more marketable but is what employers are looking for,” says Davis.

“Interdisciplinary work is about creating new ways of thinking across and among various knowledge boundaries,” says Cook. “The world is inherently interdisciplinary and our curricula should increasingly recognize that real life is rarely compartmentalized into neat subject matter.”  

Hosting this conference validates SUU’s credibility in interdisciplinary studies and helps get the word out about the opportunities offered at SUU. Says Davis, “We want the world to know that SUU has solid interdisciplinary studies degrees.”

AIS Conference Chair, and Wayne State University Associate Professor Emerita Dr. Roslyn Schindler adds, “the AIS Conference is eager to come to Utah in 2021! We are delighted that there is so much enthusiasm on the part of SUU administration and faculty to host our conference.”  

With upcoming conference locations at Wayne State University in Michigan and the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, hosting an international conference will provide the SUU community a great opportunity to network and connect with schools all over the world. Davis hopes hosting the AIS conference increases the awareness and reputation for the Interdisciplinary Studies programs at SUU and becomes a feeder school for undergraduate students seeking an MIS degree.  

Having Southern Utah University host the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Conference is a unique opportunity for both administration and students," said Cami Mathews, current MIS student at SUU. “It will be a chance to present research, network with people from around the country, and get the university on the map with interdisciplinary studies. I think hosting allows for current students to help pave the way for future opportunities."

While 2021 may seem far away, planning for the conference has already begun. In fact, an AIS Planning Committee has been selected and are already making preparations to welcome the world to Southern Utah University.  

For more information on the conference or the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies degree, visit their website, give them a call at (435) 865-8665 or drop by the Hunter Conference Center, Office H-103, located on 351 West University Blvd., Cedar City, Utah.

Contact Information:

Nikki Koontz
nikkikoontz@suu.edu