Each year, the University of Chicago invites incoming students to recommend a professional who has “played a significant role in their education, made a positive impact in their lives, and whose influence has brought them to where they are today.” Then it chooses those who will receive its annual Outstanding Educator award.
This year, Chief Academic Officer and Dean of Faculty Timothy Quinn was selected for the honor after being nominated by Ancient Yunwei “Miki” Yang ’21.
“An Outstanding Educator shapes young minds in meaningful ways — thoughtfully approaching instruction, sharing an infectious love for learning, and caring for students both inside and outside the classroom,” the university noted in a press release announcing the award. “We thank them for going above and beyond the call of duty every day and leaving an impression that will be carried over a lifetime.” Some 900 educators across the country were honored in an online ceremony on October 25.
In a note to Mr. Quinn sent in the award letter, Ms. Yang wrote, “Four years of advisory with you has been my highlight at Miss Porter’s School. You taught your students the right attitude of scholarship — be bold and grateful as a lifelong learner. You constantly remind your students to boldly step out of their comfort zones and have intellectual collisions with others, realizing that experiencing the moments of discomfort is actually a privilege.” Ms. Yang also noted that he makes “the best barbecue on the planet.”
In a recent interview, Ms. Yang said she was also grateful to Mr. Quinn for turning her into a voracious reader and for teaching her time management skills that are serving her well in college. “Because of his guidance, I realized that reading is such a precious opportunity to converse with the great minds that existed before you,” she said. And, “he basically emphasized how preparing for everything in advance and in an organized manner is really important.”
Mr. Quinn said he was “humbled and honored” to receive the award, knowing “how amazing all the students who get accepted to the University of Chicago are and all the amazing teachers they must have had.”
He also noted that because he was not one of Ms. Yang’s classroom teachers, “This speaks to the importance of advising at Miss Porter’s. That students feel they learn as much, maybe even more, from their advisors as their classroom teachers.”
Head of School Katherine G. Windsor said she was delighted but “not surprised to hear that Tim Quinn was nominated for his award. He is a teacher at heart and always centers the student in every decision he makes as Porter’s chief academic officer.”