What have we learned?

In the first two years of the Discussion Project, survey results have consistently shown that participants deepen their knowledge about what discussion is and the characteristics of good discussion. Participants report feeling better able to prepare students for discussion and for treating discussion as an academic skill that can be taught and assessed. Participants enjoy the hands-on approach to the training, and they greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss teaching and learning with colleagues from across campus. For a recent testimonial from a Discussion Project alumna, see Diana Rodriguez-Gomez share her Discussion Project experience in the video below, or linked here.

Where are we headed?

The Discussion Project has received a two-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to study how the Discussion Project training affects participants’ instructional practice and how their students experience and learn from discussions in class. As part of the study, we are expanding from two to six cohorts per year, and in the second year of the study, we will investigate how well the Discussion Project translates to campuses that differ from UW–Madison. The main questions for the study include:

  1. How do the Discussion Project training and resources affect instructors’ abilities to create and facilitate high-quality classroom discussion?
  2. How does the Discussion Project affect how students experience and learn from discussions in courses taught by instructors trained by the Discussion Project?
  3. What are the best mechanisms to both scale the Discussion Project and extend it to other institutions of higher education (IHEs) with demographically different students than UW–Madison (the institution in which it was developed)?

Discussion Project Alumni Receive Distinguished Teaching Awards

Congratulations to the following Discussion Project alumni for receiving a Distinguished Teaching Award! For more information about Distinguished Teaching Awards, visit the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty’s website.

Michael Thornton Majid Sarmadi Nancy Marshall Catalina Toma Rosemary Russ Judith Houck
Sara McKinnon Kate Vieira Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen Juan Egea Joshua Calhoun Jerome Camal
Ajay Sethi Mitra Sharafi Jeremy Morris Yoshiko Herrera Kassem Fawaz Lori Lopez

Affiliation of Participants: 117 Departments and Programs

Accounting and Information Systems Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Civil and Environmental Engineering Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Geoscience Library and Information Studies Nutritional Sciences Radiology
Aerospace Studies (Air Force ROTC) Bacteriology Civil Society and Community Studies Educational Policy Studies German, Nordic, and Slavic Life Sciences Communication Occupational Therapy
Real Estate and Urban Land Economics
African Cultural Studies Biochemistry Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies Educational Psychology History Management and Human Resources Operations and Information Management
Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education
African Studies Program Biocore Communication Arts Electrical and Computer Engineering Horticulture Marketing Pathobiological Sciences
Religious Studies
Afro-American Studies Biological Systems Engineering Communication Sciences and Disorders Engineering Physics Human Development and Family Studies Materials Science and Engineering Pediatrics
Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Agricultural and Applied Economics Biology Community and Environmental Sociology English Integrated Liberal Studies Mathematics Pharmacy Social Work
Agroecology Biomedical Engineering Computer Sciences Entomology Integrative Biology Mechanical Engineering Philosophy Sociology
American Indian Studies Biostatistics and Medical Informatics Consumer Science Family Medicine Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies Medical History and Bioethics Physical Therapy Soil Science
Animal Sciences Botany Continuing Studies Finance, Investment and Banking International Studies Medical Physics Physics
Spanish and Portuguese
Anthropology Business Counseling Psychology Food Science Jewish Studies Medicine Planning and Landscape Architecture
Special Education
Art Cell and Regenerative Biology Curriculum and Instruction Forest and Wildlife Ecology Journalism and Mass Communication Military Science (Army ROTC) Plant Pathology Statistics
Art Department Center for Asian Studies—South Asian Studies Dairy Science French and Italian Kinesiology Music Political Science
Wisconsin Institute for Science Education and Community Engagement
Art History Chemical and Biological Engineering Dance Gender and Women’s Studies Language Sciences Naval Science (Naval ROTC)
Population Health Sciences
Asian Languages and Cultures Chemistry Design Studies Genetics Law Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Psychology
Astronomy Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies Economics Geography Legal Studies Nursing Public Affairs

“This is probably the most valuable teaching-centric experience I’ve had in my 11 years on campus.”
– Catherine Arnott Smith, Associate Professor, iSchool