Welcome Wisconsin area college counselors!  The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee is excited to host the 2024 Wisconsin Area College Counseling Conference (WACCC) this year in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin!

The Wisconsin Area College Counseling Conference (formerly known as the Wisconsin Association of Professional Counselors in Higher Education) started as an informal annual gathering of counselors from universities, colleges, and technical colleges throughout Wisconsin. The initial goal was to provide opportunities for counselors to discuss topics of mutual concern, network, and share experiences.

The conference has always had a wellness focus, although over the years has become more formal with funding for keynote speakers, chances for more structured presentations, Continuing Education Units (CEUs), and numerous opportunities to connect with other campus mental health providers.

The conference typically occurs in late April and is coordinated by a different UW school each year. The funding for the keynote speakers comes from the Universities of Wisconsin and efforts are made to keep the registration costs economical.

April 17-19, 2024: 

Wednesday from 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Thursday from 8:15 AM – 5:00 PM

Friday from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

WACCC 2024: Carrying Hope in a Chaotic World

We live in a chaotic world where we are challenged by constant instability, global pandemics, harrowing world events, and assaults against many of our communities. How do we carry hope for ourselves and our students when the world is in such despair? This year’s theme “Carrying Hope in a Chaotic World” looks at the ways we can rejuvenate our souls, engage with our communities both inside and outside of campus, and work creatively to offer hope for our students. The theme recognizes that these are challenging times.  When work exhausts us and we feel depleted, we can come together as a community to share ways we can collaborate, nourish ourselves and each other, and lean on collective wisdom, support, and advocacy for our students. Please join us to share strategies for making our work sustainable, meaningful, and hopeful.

  • To register for the conference, please click here.
  • Registration fees are $145.00 per person for conference and meals
    • Click here to register for optional Lakefront Brewery tour (Thursday, April 18 at 6:30 PM). Fee to register is $20.00. You will be sent a separate invoice on or around April 1st for $20 which will be due by April 4th for the brewery tour.
  • The deadline to register is April 1, 2024

Lakefront Brewery Tour - $20 per person

Limited to the first 40 registered participants, click here to register for conference and brewery tour.

Join us for a private tour including:

  • Four 6 oz beer samples
  • Souvenir pint glass
  • Coupon for a Lakefront beer at a local bar
  • An entertaining guide to Milwaukee beer history

  • The Drury Plaza Hotel Downtown at 700 Water Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • Located in the heart of downtown, the Drury Plaza Hotel is a historic renovation of the 15-story First Financial Centre. It is close to the Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee RiverWalk, Milwaukee Art Museum, and more.  Hotel guests enjoy a free hot breakfast, free snacks at the 5:30 PM Kickback and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. 
  • Reservations can be made HERE using the following group code: 10076164
  • Guest Services: 414-224-7864
  • Call the Drury Plaza Hotel and mention the “UW Professional Counselor Conference or WACCC” for reserving a room at the state rate.

Wednesday, April 175:30 PM - 7:00 PMHappy Hour/Welcome Hour
Drury Kickback - delicious mix of warm and cold snacks
Thursday, April 187:00 AMHotel breakfast items
 8:15 AMRegistration/Check-In Continental Breakfast
 9:00 AMWelcome - Carrie, Kelly Haag intro to Keynote
 9:30 AM - 10:45 AMKeynote - Richmond Wynn, PhD
 10:45 AM - 11:00 AMBreak
 11:00 AM

Breakout 1

  • Why, How and What Now?  UW-Madison’s Mental Health Co-Rsponder Program
  • Finding Happiness within the Chaos: Exploring Cultural Components of Happiness and Using Positive Psychology to Increase Happiness
  • Coming to Campus with a Heavy Heart:  Grief and Loss at the University
 12:00 PMLunch
 1:00 PM

Breakout 2

  • Hopeful Horizons:  Exploring AI’s Potential Impact on Mental Well-being
  • Worst-Case Scenario: Supporting Clinicians When Clients Die by Suicide
  • “Crushing It” to Pieces and Hustle Culture
 2:00 PM

Breakout 3

  • The Eco-Anxiety Group
  • Providing Culturally Attuned Therapy to Indian-Origin Students
  • Letters of Readiness for Trans and Gender Diverse Students
 3:00 PMBreak/Transport to UWM Tour
 3:30 PMTour of UWM SHAW Counseling
 5:00 PMDinner (entertainment) catered by Saz's Hospitality Group
 5:30 PM - 7:00 PMDrury Hotel "Kickback"
 6:30 PMShuttle leaves to Lakefront Brewery (Optional Lakefront Brewery Tour)
 7:00 PMTrivia at hotel for those remaining
 9:30 PMShuttle returns to hotel
Friday, April 19 Spirit Day (Wear your school gear!)
 8:30 AM - 9:30 AMBreakouts - Coordination Area (AODA, CM, Directors, ED, Group, Interns, Outreach, Training,
Clinical Services)
 9:40 AM - 10:20 AMJohn Achter, Universities of Wisconsin Updates
 10:20 AM - 10:30 AMBreak
 10:30 AM - 12:00 PMKeynote - Micky Sharma, PsyD
 12:00 PMLunch - Grab & Go

Call for Proposals

The WACCC planning committee is looking forward to the upcoming conference and we are currently accepting proposals for breakout sessions. As a reminder, WACCC will be held at Drury Plaza Hotel in downtown Milwaukee on April 17-19, 2024. You can register here. This year’s theme is “Carrying Hope in a Chaotic World.” 

We are looking for presenters with backgrounds or topics to share – directly related to the theme or to the work we do as college counselors. We are planning to host a variety of breakout sessions, with 2-3 sessions focused on the theme and the remaining on interesting, relevant, and worthwhile topics. You are encouraged to collaborate with partners at different campuses, and this is a great opportunity to share and learn from colleagues with various backgrounds, training, and perspectives.  

Presentations will be approximately 50 minutes in length with 10 minutes of transition time. 

If you are interested in formally presenting, please complete the Call for Proposals form at the link below by March 1, 2024 to submit a proposal.

Conference Registration

Registration fees are $145.00 per person for conference and meals. If you would like to attend the optional Lakefront Brewery tour (Thursday, April 18 at 6:30 PM), there will be an extra $20 charge per person (you will be sent a separate invoice on or around April 1st for $20 which will be due by April 4th for the brewery tour). Click here to register. The deadline to register is April 1, 2024.


For additional questions regarding the conference, please contact Carrie Fleider, Director, Counseling Services, Student Health and Wellness Center at UW-Milwaukee, fleider@uwm.edu.

2024 WACCC Keynote Speakers

Thursday, April 18 – Keynote Presentation: Hope and Resilience!

Dr. Richmond Wynn, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of North Florida

Our world is filled with challenges, and barriers to health, happiness, and achievement. Wars persist around the globe, the threats to environmental health continue to mount, access to the necessities of life is compromised for many, and the constantly shifting sociopolitical landscape keeps us in transition resulting in trauma, anxiety, and feeling unsettled. Despite these obstacles, there are opportunities and pathways toward peace, joy, and success. This talk will explore ideas of self-care, advocacy, and hope in addressing how we can position ourselves to navigate challenges to wellness and tune into opportunity and resilience.

Dr. Wynn provides strategic leadership for the university’s coordinated model for diversity, equity, and inclusion while supporting and facilitating UNF’s Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence. As CDO, he leads and collaboratively assists in recruiting and retaining underrepresented students, faculty and staff; assessing and improving the campus climate for diversity and inclusion; promoting inclusive excellence in scholarly and creative activity; and engaging the community to encourage discourse while countering bias and discrimination. An associate professor of public health, Dr. Wynn joined UNF in 2000 and has held a number of roles, including director of the UNF Counseling Center, director of the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program in the Brooks College of Health, and interim coordinator of the LGBTQ Center.


Friday, April 19 – Keynote Presentation: College Student Mental Health: Future Directions

Dr. Micky Sharma, Director of The Ohio State University Counseling and Consultation Service

The work in college and university counseling centers has shifted significantly over the years and the COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented changes in the delivery of clinical services, training, outreach and consultation for counseling center staff. This presentation will discuss the changes to counseling services that have occurred and effective strategies to consider moving forward on your campus. The position paper published in 2023 by The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) will be incorporated into the presentation. Finally, the importance of self-care and resilience, both professionally and personally, for counseling center staff will also be discussed.

Dr. Sharma is the Director of the Counseling and Consultation Service at The Ohio State University where he specializes in the treatment of mental health issues of college and university students. Dr. Sharma has also spoken professionally regarding the mental health needs of students and assisting a community through trauma at several conferences and forums. His career has spanned service in seven university counseling centers where he has worked as a clinician as well as an operations and training administrator. Dr. Sharma has served as President of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD). In addition, Dr. Sharma has previously served as a Board member for the Association of Counseling Center Training Agencies (ACCTA) and in the Council Position of the Disaster Response Network for the Illinois Psychological Association. His special areas of interest include: trauma, multiculturalism and diversity, professional consultation and collaboration, eating disorders, training and supervision. Dr. Sharma obtained his doctorate from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology/ Chicago Campus and in 2008 he received the Distinguished Alumni award from the institution.