News for Faculty and Staff

The Discussion Project accepting applications for upcoming academic year

July 26, 2019

The Discussion Project, a professional development series that’s designed to create welcoming, engaging and academically rigorous classroom environments, is accepting applications for its various cohorts during the upcoming academic year.

The idea behind the program is that an engaging classroom discussion can be both a vital part of the learning process and a microcosm of the way we hope democracy functions. Yet a high-quality discussion doesn’t just happen — it takes structure, planning, practice, and skill to make it effective.

Student discussionThe Discussion Project offers instructors tools to design and facilitate high-quality classroom discussions to prepare their students to participate in them.

UW–Madison faculty, academic teaching staff and graduate student teaching assistants who are assigned to teach at least one course are encouraged to apply.

Participants will …

  • Learn to create an inclusive classroom climate.
  • Define high-quality classroom discussion.
  • Learn strategies for structuring and facilitating small- and large-group discussion.
  • Reflect on professional dilemmas and ethical issues related to classroom discussion.
  • Learn methods to gather formative feedback and to assess discussion participation.
  • Receive $500 for completing all study requirements.


The program is currently developing cohorts on a rolling basis. To ensure consideration for the 2019-20 academic year, applicants should apply for fall cohorts by Aug. 1 and spring cohorts by Dec. 15.

Dates for 2019-20

  • Cohort 1: Aug. 19-20 and Sept. 24
  • Cohort 2: Sept. 9-10 and Nov. 1
  • Cohort 3: Jan. 21-22 and March 5
  • Cohort 4: Jan. 30-31 and March 13
  • Cohort 5: Feb. 6-7 and April 10

For additional information. visit The Discussion Project website.

Apply to the program here.

Note: The Discussion Project is a professional learning opportunity and program evaluation study funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Karen A. Falk Distinguished Chair of Education Fund. The project is housed in the School of Education's Wisconsin Center for Education Research.