Cultural Competency Training Seminars

The UW System educates a diverse range of students, some of whom experience the negative effects of marginalization due to being a member of one or more under-represented identity groups. Students have expressed a desire to have staff in direct service positions on campus that mirror the diversity of the student population and are well-versed in the challenges, needs and issues faces by underrepresented and marginalized student groups. In 2020, UW System President Ray Cross approved a behavioral health workgroup recommendation to sponsor annual training opportunities to enhance the cultural competency of counseling, health, and other student services staff. We welcome faculty and staff from any background to attend and participate in these trainings. 

Our Spring 2023 training will focus on Understanding, Connecting, and Supporting Autistic College Students. Virtual sessions will be conducted via Zoom. See sections below for information regarding registration, session speakers and descriptions, and additional resources.

  • Registration Form | Link
  • Deadline to register is March 27, 2023

April 3, 2023, at 9:00 - 10:30 AM 

Session Title: "So You're Teaching Autistic College Students? How to Support Their Success"
Session Speaker: Brett Ranon Nachman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at University of Arkansas & Director of Research College Autism Network
Description: Increasingly our college campuses are seeing more autistic students enrolled in courses, and with this influx comes the opportunity to provide them with fulfilling academic experiences. Yet faculty often lack familiarity with and preparation to teach them and, in tandem, honor their strengths, needs, and interests. This interactive webinar, led by an autistic autism/higher education researcher and educator, affords space to learn about the most common issues and opportunities for growth among college faculty in working with autistic college students. Reflection opportunities, discussions, and practical tools will enable attendees to feel more adept and excited to support their autistic learners in the classroom and beyond.


April 14, 2023, at 9:00 - 10:30 AM

Session Title: Building and Maintaining Services that Support Neurodiversity on Campus: Lessons from the Field
Session Speakers:

  • Alli Gatta, M.S., Associate Director of College Support, Kinney Center for Autism, St. Joseph’s University (PA)
  • Emily Raclaw, M.S., Director, On Your Marq, Marquette University
  • Lee Burdette Williams, Ph.D., Executive Director, College Autism Network

Session Description: With creativity and collaboration, educators Emily Raclaw and Alli Gatta have helped develop a culture of support on their respective campuses (Marquette University and St. Joseph’s University) for autistic and other neurodivergent students. This conversation, facilitated by Lee Burdette Williams, Executive Director of the College Autism Network, will explore the ways they have partnered with student services colleagues across campus. Residence life, student activities, academic and career advising, disability services, DEI, counseling and wellness and other areas all have a role to play in the creation and maintenance of services and support that enable autistic and other neurodivergent students to thrive. Hearing the many voices of a neurodiverse campus is the place to begin, and amplifying those voices takes openness, intention and institutional support. 

April 21, 2023, at 10:00 AM - 12:00 pm

Session Title: Navigating the Mental Health Needs of Autistic College Students
Session Speaker
: Julie DiMatteo Ph.D., ABPP, Clinical Psychologist, CBT Specialists of New Jersey
Session Description: As the number of Autistic students on college campuses increases, the gap between the needs of those students and current resources becomes evident. Autistic students readily experience barriers to receiving appropriate levels of support resulting in lagging graduation rates compared to non-Autistic peers. One factor contributing to these attrition rates is undertreated mental health symptoms. Approximately 70% of Autistic college students present with a comorbid psychiatric disorder, with the most common conditions reported as ADHD, anxiety, and depression. However, UCCC directors report that despite an increase in Autistic students seeking services at their centers over the last 5 years they face inadequate staff training and expertise in supporting these students. This webinar aims to provide an understanding of the mental health needs of Autistic students, an overview of treatment approaches tailored to Autistic student needs, and training resources available to increase staff competence.

Looking for past trainings?

  • January 12, 2021 (link) – Meeting the Health/Mental Health Needs of BIPOC Students
  • August 3 – 4, 2021 (link) – Serving LGBTQIA+ Student Populations

For additional questions regarding past trainings, please contact John Achter,