Alumna is selected for inaugural ‘Inquiry Initiative’ to explore opportunity gaps in education

UW–Madison alumna Kimberly Oamek, an incoming assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at UW Oshkosh, has been selected to participate in the inaugural “Inquiry Initiative” sponsored by the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE).

Kimberly Oamek

Oamek holds a PhD from the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, from which she graduated in May 2022.

The Inquiry Initiative is a “first of its kind” collaborative exploration of teacher education practices and research, focused on “opportunity gaps” in education. Opportunity gaps are defined as the unequal or inequitable distribution of resources and options individuals or groups encounter in schools, colleges, and universities, and in employment and professional contexts.

Rachelle Rogers, President of ATE, described the rationale behind the development of this important new structure: “ATE is committed to exploring ways teacher education scholars and practitioners can impact the pressing teaching and learning challenges of our time. The Inquiry Initiative is a unique, sustainable, and collaborative structure that we believe can have that impact.”

Oamek was one of just 80 university- and school-based teacher educators and education scholars from around the U.S. chosen to participate in the Inquiry Initiative. The initiative aims to cultivate and support collaborative research inquiries across geographic and institutional contexts over a three-year span. Imagined as an alternative to the traditional “drive-thru” mode of professional engagement available via most academic conferences, the initiative will include sustained and sustainable professional partnerships that result in pedagogical innovations, research reports and presentations, and education policies.

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