Interdisciplinary Drug and Alcohol Research Conference to be hosted by UCCS faculty next year 

This spring, UCCS will host the inaugural Conference for Interdisciplinary Drug and Alcohol Research (CU CIDAR). The conference is a result of the collaboration between four UCCS faculty: Colin Mahoney, Assistant Professor of Trauma Psychology; Kate Quintana, Assistant Professor in Criminal Justice in the College of Public Service; Max Shulman, Associate Professor of Theatre; and Rachel Thayer, Assistant Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology. 

The conference got its start when Shulman and Quintana met at a research event. While Shulman is a Theatre professor and Quintana is in the College of Public Service, they were struck by the degree to which their work aligned – Shulman’s primary research is on the history of the representation of drugs and alcohol in the United States in entertainment, and Quintana does research on drug use and policy. 

“We were so intrigued by our similarities, we thought there is probably something bigger here,” Quintana explained. “We were already having these interesting conversations outside of our silos and we thought other people could too.” 

As the name suggests, CU CIDAR is for those within the CU System only. The conference seeks to create links between the many researchers across our campuses studying drugs, alcohol, misuse, substance use disorders, policy, history, culture and the science of narcotic substances. 

The theme of the inaugural event is “Across the Divide: Advancing Interdisciplinary Discourse on Substance Use from Arts to Sciences.” The UCCS team is hoping the conference can bridge the gaps between disciplinary approaches and knowledge. Potential disciplines include, but are not limited to, Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Criminal Justice, Health Sciences, History, Literary Studies, Policy, Psychology, Public Relations, Sociology and beyond. 

“Many of us recognize that we are at a crisis point in the way people are using and becoming addicted to drugs, in the way that legislation is prosecuting drug use, and in the way that treatment is struggling…putting everyone together seems like such a productive and fruitful possibility,” said Shulman. 

The conference will be held on Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18 on the UCCS campus and will feature a mix of panel presentations, roundtables and poster sessions. The first day will include a keynote presentation and curated conversations among participants. There is no registration fee. Additional information, including locations, schedules and accommodations will be available on the conference website. 

“We’re hoping to get a lot of undergraduate and graduate student participation,” said Quintana. “The poster sessions are an easier way for them to join the conference.”  

Submissions are due by Sunday, Jan. 21. Participants must be affiliated with the CU system, but scholars of all stripes and career levels, including undergraduates, graduate students and trainees are welcome. 

“The conference will demonstrate the kind of cutting-edge work that is happening across all CU campuses – there’s a tremendous amount of work being done, and that’s exciting, so in some ways the conference also serves to celebrate that,” said Shulman. “It’s about putting people in a room together and enabling that far-reaching, imaginative conversation.”  

Those interested in submitting a paper may review the details below:  

Please submit abstracts of 250 words outlining your project or study. Please attempt to avoid jargon, making submissions readable to academics from a range of disciplines.   

Topics might consider “Across the Divide” and its valances:  

  • Speaking Across – What are the potentials of your research to disciplines outside your own? What questions might you pose (methodological, practical, philosophical) to other specific disciplines?   
  • Crossing Methods – What are the methods/theories from outside your discipline that are generative? What methods/theories might benefit disciplines outside of your own? How are they applied?  
  • Hard Sciences and Narratives – How can qualitative and quantitative data sets work in concert? How might the hard sciences integrate forms of ethnography and history into their research? What are examples of policy and narrative working in productive concert?  
  • Disciplines in Context – What are the limitations created by disciplinary silos and blind spots? What are the limitations in your own field? How might we address those sticking points?  
  • Call for Collaborations – What do you need as a scholar in your field to best bolster the work you are doing? What tools or data that other fields could supply are you missing?   

Proposals may also focus on more specific research, but please include an interdisciplinary impact statement that imagines cross-disciplinary implications and applications.  

For this inaugural conference, conference organizers will design and program the conference in response to the proposals received. Please identify all the formats in which you would be willing to present (paper presentation, roundtable discussion, poster session).   

Submissions should include Contact Information, Institution, Position, Home Department/Area of Study, Paper Title, Category: Public Health and Policy; Intervention; Behavior and Physical Health; History and Culture; or “Other.”  

Please email submissions as a PDF or Doc to [email protected]