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The Student Engaged Participatory Action Research Center offers workshops to scholars, educators, community activists, and graduate students to advance their knowledge of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and help them incorporate PAR in their work.

Stay Tuned for Future Workshops…

Past Workshops

Summer and Fall 2022

July 22, Aug 12, Sep 9, Oct 14, Nov 11, and Dec 9 | 10am-2pm CT

We held virtual 4-hour workshops to learn about Participatory Action Research (PAR) and how to integrate PAR approaches into your work with students. These workshops were designed for higher education professionals but can be applied to a range of participants who work in secondary, postsecondary, or community education settings.


Participants will become familiar with PAR, discuss how to incorporate PAR practices into their work, examine ethical and practical consideration when building community partnerships, and complete a PAR project planner to help identify the problems, resources, networks, and potential obstacles to implementing a PAR project.

When and tuition costs?

On account of funding provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the PAR Virtual Training Workshops are free-of-charge. Workshops will take place on the following dates:

  • July 22, Aug 12, Sep 9, Oct 14, Nov 11, and Dec 9
  • 10:00am-2:00pm CT

What is student-engaged PAR and why does it matter?

Participatory Action Research (PAR) is a partnership approach to research that typically involves engagement between researchers and community actors with the aim of gaining a more grounded understanding of a given phenomenon. PAR is a way to engage minoritized college students in the higher education research and advocacy process – instead of them being the subjects of research, they become active and empowered agents who can identify research questions and problems salient to their lives.

Student-engaged PAR offers an exciting and needed approach to studying issues in higher education because it not only includes the perspectives and experiences of higher education students—those who are often excluded from policy debates—but it also positions students in a researcher role to guide the research questions, approaches, data collection, and analysis. This approach produces action-oriented ideas, discussions, and data, which can inform activism, pedagogy, policy debates, and policy implementation.

Engaging minoritized college students in high impact educational practices is both a challenging and promising area of growth for higher education. Student-engaged PAR involves college students in the design and conduct of community-based research that impacts the conditions of their life and learning on campus, and CCWT has extensive experience leading research by Hmong American college students about campus racial climate at a predominately white institution, and Muslim American College students researching their experiences of religious minoritization at an urban access institution.

Who is leading the workshops?

Workshops are led by PAR scholars, Drs. Bailey B. Smolarek and Matthew Wolfgram, who are Associate Researchers and project leaders at UW-Madison.

Individual PAR Consultations

In addition to these general workshops, we also conduct in-person and virtual PAR consultation to train and support the development of a student-engaged PAR groups.

If you are interested to learn more about any of the upcoming CCWT Virtual PAR Training Institutes, or to learn more about On-campus and Virtual PAR Consultation Workshops, send email inquires to Dr. Matthew Wolfgram at

Summer 2021 Institute

July 12-16, 2021 | 12pm-4pm CT

This week long workshop was designed for a wide-range of participants – academics, graduate students, student services professionals, K-12 teachers, and members of community-based organizations. This series included readings, short-lectures, videos, and discussions. 


Participants will gain a strong foundation of PAR approaches, learn how to design their own PAR studies, and/or incorporate PAR in their already established work. Participants will also spend time on developing proposals for their own work, including grant proposals to obtain external funding. This Summer Institute includes three follow-up mentoring sessions with instructors.

Where, when, and tuition costs?

      • The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Research on College- Workforce Transitions (CCWT) is hosting this institute; all 2021 institute activities will be held VIRTUALLY
      • July 12-16, 2021 from 12:00-4:00pm CT
      • Three 2-hour mentoring follow-up sessions will be scheduled at a later date
      • Tuition is $1200; scholarships are available, see below for details

What will the institute cover?

      • The history and genealogy of PAR along with seminal pieces and empirical examples
      • Methodological discussions on how to incorporate PAR
      • Ethical and practical considerations when building meaningful community partnerships
      • Step-by-step guidance on designing PAR research studies, disseminating PAR findings, and developing action plans for change
      • Workshop time to create proposals for PAR projects, and individual feedback on these proposals
      • Discussions and examples to learn how to obtain external grant funding for PAR projects
      • Opportunities to discuss and advance research ideas and develop partnerships with a network of PAR scholars

Who is leading the institute?

Dr. Bailey B. Smolarek
Associate Researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research

Dr. Matthew Wolfgram
Assistant Director of the Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions

Mai Neng Vang
Graduate Student in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin- Madison

How do I apply to the institute?

To apply, please send the following information in a single word document to

      • Name and Contact Information
      • Primary Organization and Appointment Title
      • 300-400 word essay describing your relevant background and goals for this institute
      • [Optional] 150-word essay describing your need for partial or full scholarship funding for this institute

**For additional information please contact: Bailey B. Smolarek