The application for the Summer 2019 cohort is now open!

Faculty and teaching staff at UW-Madison are encouraged to apply for The Discussion Project program. This cohort is currently open to only faculty and full-time teaching staff. We will open a cohort to graduate students in the near future! We select participants with the aim of creating a group that is diverse along a variety of factors.

Summer 2019 Dates:

Monday, June 24, 2019 (9:00am – 4:30pm)

Tuesday, June 25 (9:00am – 4:30pm)

Wednesday, June 26 (9:00am – 12:00pm)

All sessions will be held in the Education Building on Bascom Hill.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, we will begin a two-year study funded by the Mellon Foundation. To that end, it is required that participants attend all of the sessions.

To encourage full participation, the members of each cohort will be paid $500 of flexible funding upon program completion. However, by committing to The Discussion Project, participants agree to attend the entirety of the sessions; attend two full days and one half day of sessions; administer two surveys to participants’ students; and provide feedback to The Discussion Project by completing online surveys.

“[My current students] have expressed that their experience of schooling and undergrad has not been focused on discussion and they find it daunting to enter a program that is reading and discussion heavy. There’s a sense of relief that seems to come over students when they realize that they can get better at discussion  AND that the instructor has a responsibility to structure discussion in such a way as to foster and support good discussion.”  – Gail P., Department of Curriculum & Instruction


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.