The mission of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) is to assist college/university directors in providing effective leadership and management of their centers, in accord with the professional principles and standards of Psychology, Counseling, and Higher Education. AUCCCD promotes the awareness of college student mental health through research, education, and training provided to members, professional organizations, and the public with special attention to issues of diversity and multiculturalism.
The Association of College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) was established in 1950 by a group of mid-western college and university counseling directors. Dr. Ralph Birdie, director of the Student Counseling Bureau at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis hosted the first conference on the UM campus. Annual meetings were hosted throughout the 1950's by several universities including the University of Illinois, Michigan State, The Ohio State University, State University of Iowa, University of Missouri, and the University of Minnesota . In the early days, the organization was referred to as the Annual Conference of College and University Counseling Directors. Conference attendance was based on invitation from participants a nd grew over time as directors around the country developed collegial relationships with each other. Initially membership was primarily drawn from mid-western institutions, but eventually the annual conference became a national affiliation of directors.
Following World War II, counseling centers were established in response to the educational and vocational needs of returning veterans. Directors were pioneering the development of organized counseling units and recognized their need to "talk shop" - to exchange information with each other and to develop a practical knowledge base on how to best to serve students. They gathered to discuss organizational issues, to share experience about how to work effectively with campus administration, and to discuss the nature of the work with students. An integral part of the annual meeting was the opportunity to develop and nourish collegial friendships through work and recreation in a restful setting.
Directors valued the opportunity to discuss confidential matters with their colleagues and trusted one another with sensitive details that they could not process with fellow administrators on their own campus. Directors were challenged with issues such as managing relations with campus administration and faculty who could be skeptical of the value of counseling students as well as issues related to the management of their staff. Conference attendance was restricted to directors with staffs of at least three full-time equivalents (FTE) in order to create a confidential environment for consultation.
The annual conference provided the opportunity for both formal and ad hoc presentations, roundtable discussions, and individual consultation. The group was loosely organized as a "non-organization" with a minimum of bureaucracy, and the pivotal activity was the annual meeting. A steering committee was elected annually to manage routine business, and a conference host was chosen from among competing institutions during the conference business meeting.
The formal structure of AUCCCD as we now know it, developed slowly through the 1980's with the decision to revise the organization's By-laws and to incorporate as a non-profit organization. Throughout the 1990's several initiatives have been undertaken to develop a formal organizational structure to advance the business of AUCCCD as a national professional organization, and to put significant emphasis on advocating on behalf of counseling and psychological issues in higher education. Conference membership increased considerably after the 3 FTE restriction was lifted in the l990's.
Membership in AUCCCD is institutional with one director being selected to represent the member college or university. We have experienced significant growth with our current membership of 677 universities and colleges throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe and Asia.
AUCCCD Brochure (PDF)
UC Davis emeritus