What Is the Conference History?

AABSS was founded by Drs. Norma (University of Tampa) and Bill (Eckerd College) Winston in 1998 with Norma having served as the association president until 2013. Dr. Lorenzo Cherubini, a previous AABSS Journal editor noted the following in a recent journal article introduction: “In many respects, it also marks the thoughtful, insightful, and visionary outcomes Norma and her husband, Dr. Bill Winston, imagined nearly 2 decades ago. The American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences was created, in its inception, to be a distinct venue wherein collaborative networks of scholars, clinicians, educators and practitioners could openly share their work in a non-judgmental and supportive environment. For Drs. Winston, the conference was to serve as a platform to develop scholarship, foster collegial interactions, and allow both emerging and established colleagues to, as Norma herself describes, ‘spread their wings.’ In this way, both Norma and Bill envisioned an opportunity to personalize teaching, learning, practice and scholarship.”

Dr. Winston retired as the association president in 2013 and the late Dr. Michael Firmin assumed leadership at that time and directed the conference through the planning phase of 2021 during the Covid 19 pandemic. To the Director's role, Dr. Firmin brought the personal experience of having presented over 160 papers at national and international conferences, as well as having authored over 120 articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. He had a heart for research and helping young scholars spark their research interest.

Under Dr. Firmin's leadership, the word "association" has been used in the AABSS title in a relatively informal manner. The conference is the means by which scholars and professionals associate together and there are no formal dues, memberships, or requirements of those who attend the annual conference. Since its inception, the conference has always been held in Las Vegas around February.

In addition to the conference, AABSS also currently is associated with the quarterly printed, peer-reviewed journal, Journal of Behavioral and Social Sciences (JBSS). It is comprised of various papers submitted at the annual conference, as well as manuscripts from outside of the conference. Information about the current journal is available HERE (and discontinued publications associated with AABSS are located HERE).

Presently, AABSS is in transition. During the 2021 conference planning season, Dr. Firmin unexpectedly passed away, leaving the negotiations with Caesar's Entertainment regarding the Covid 19 restrictions for on-site conference planning up in the air. Planning for the 2021 virtual conference continued, but was moved from the normal February timeframe to June. The conference currently seeks to find a new Director and sponsorship for in person meetings going forward in 2023.