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Keynote Speaker

Scott Strader, PhD


The American College Counseling Association is thrilled to welcome Scott Strader as a keynote presenter at the 2024 ACCA Conference. Scott Strader, PhD (he/him) has been Director of the Counseling Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa since 2017, and has been a counseling center director for 18 years.  Scott has worked in a variety of settings, including a small private college, a large, urban, public university, community-based care, a family service agency, independent practice, and consulting.  Scott chaired the planning committee for the 2016 Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) Conference in Tampa, and served on AUCCCD’s Elements of Excellence Task force from 2016-2022, his last two years as co-chair.  He is a site reviewer for the International Accreditation of Counseling Services (IACS), and currently serves on the AUCCCD Board of Directors.  Scott is a frequent and engaging presenter at national conferences, on issues ranging from using data to advocate for change, future directions in college mental health, diversity and inclusion initiatives, ethical decision making, and financial management.  His interests include leadership development, outcome measurements in psychotherapy, and working with LBGTQIA+ and other marginalized students.

Keynote Title:

“Reflections on Grieving, Coping, Thriving, and Advocating in an Anti-Woke Florida”

Session Description:

Florida’s shift to the political right has resulted in significant changes to the landscape of higher education in the state.  The 2023 legislative session saw prohibitions on spending public monies on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, restrictions on providing gender-affirming care, and outlawing public institutions from requiring students, faculty, or staff to take “political loyalty tests.”  These bills brought an increased focus to Florida’s State University System (SUS) practices and directly affected state-system college and university counseling centers, presenting unique challenges to programs, recruitment and retention of qualified staff, and student presenting concerns.

As counseling centers across the state respond to these changes, we have managed the cumulative grief experienced by pandemic losses combined with the fundamental altering of counseling center practices, and considered how to thrive in the current sociopolitical environment.  Effectively coping with the experiences of the last few years calls us to examine ways to best care for our students, colleagues, and ourselves, foster a sense of belongingness for all who work in, and are served by, our counseling centers, and renew our commitment to advocacy. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will describe how Florida’s changing politics shaped the changes in higher education seen in 2023.
  • Participants will discuss how college and university counseling centers have been affected by the current sociopolitical environment.
  • Participants will discuss how college and university counseling centers can thrive and effectively advocate within the current landscape.

Keynote Speaker

Brian Banks


The ACCA Conference will feature a second keynote speaker, Brian D. Banks.  Brian is the Chief Government Affairs and Public Policy Officer for the American Counseling Association. He has over twenty-years of Government Affairs Experience, where he has worked for NGO’s, the United States Air Force, For-Profit organizations, and served as a White House Community Leader during the Obama Administration. His resume boast a variety of experience where he has focused on issues ranging from health care, and tax to healthy food access, gaming and the environment. Brian earned his Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies, where he focused on business communication, and he earned his Master of Arts Degree in Politics with a focus on Congressional Studies from The Catholic University of America. Brian is a native of Washington, D.C., and in his spare time he enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with his family.

Session Description:

The American Counseling Association (ACA) legislative agenda will play a role in shaping the future of counselors and how they operate and practice within their chosen specialty area,. As college counselors, it is crucial to stay informed and engaged with the legislative landscape that directly impacts the profession and the students you serve. This keynote will provide an in-depth analysis of the ACA's legislative priorities and their significance for college counselors across the nation. This presentation is an invaluable opportunity for college counselors and their peers to deepen their understanding of the legislative landscape, gain practical insights into effective advocacy strategies, and contribute to the advancement of the counseling profession. By uniting around the ACA's legislative agenda, we can collectively elevate the impact of counseling services in higher education and foster positive change for the benefit of students and society as a whole.

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Upcoming Events

ACCA Annual Conference
New Orleans, LA
January 29 - February 2, 2025

Announcements

View the press release on HEMHA's new guide to Animals on Campus

Click here to access the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources

ACCA joins the 4th edition of Health and Well being in Higher Education: A Commitment to Student Success

Please note the addition of the College Counseling & Psychological Services Knowledge Base to the resources page.

ACCA Members in the News

Becca Smith is quoted in the Washington Post article "College mental health centers are swamped. Here's what parents can do."

Andrew Lee is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article on Suicidal Ideation

Steffanie Grrossman is quoted in Online Counseling article College Students Diet and Mental Health

Janelle Johnson comments on the state of mental services at community colleges.

Janelle Johnson on College Counseling” Psychotherapy.net Interview. Follow the link to read the full interview.


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