Who should apply?
Faculty, academic teaching staff, and teaching assistants at UW-Madison are encouraged to apply for The Discussion Project. We select participants with the aim of creating a group that is diverse along a variety of factors. There are a limited number of seats for teaching assistants but we welcome applications. 

Compensation/Study Requirements
Participants will be awarded $500 for completion of all evaluation study requirements: this includes including attending all training sessions, completing all participant surveys, and administering all student surveys. Funds will be distributed upon completion of all elements of the study. 

When can I apply to the program?

  • The 2019-20 cohorts are all full. We will be posting our application for 2020-21 in late February or early March 2020.

Dates for 2020-21 Discussion Project Trainings (application will open spring 2020)

Cohort Day 1


Day 2


Day 3


1 Mon, 8/10/20 Tues, 8/11/20 Fri, 9/25/20
2 Thurs, 8/13/20 Fri, 8/14/20 Fri, 10/2/20
3 Mon, 8/17/20 Tues, 8/18/20 Fri, 10/9/20
4 Thurs, 1/7/21 Fri, 1/8/21 Fri, 2/12
5 Mon, 1/11/21 Tues, 1/12/21 Fri, 2/19/21
6 Thurs, 1/14/21 Fri, 1/15/21 Fri, 2/26/21

All trainings will be held in the Education Building, Wisconsin Idea Room (Room 159)

“The Discussion Project has provided me with an incredible set of resources and has changed a lot about how I lead discussions.… Now I have more tools to plan, scaffold, and conduct discussions.”  – Spring 2019 Discussion Project Participant


Instructors often assume that college students already know how to engage in classroom discussion.
In fact, a review of the relevant research shows that…

Students often don’t understand what is expected of them during discussion.

Students do not know how to focus their reading for discussion.

Students hesitate to discuss when the classroom climate is too contentious or too cordial. Setting the right tone matters.

Both students and instructors underestimate how much preparation is required to participate in discussion.