Dr. Andrew (Andy) Edward Zinn earned his Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a graduate student, Andy made the unusual decision to work as a child welfare caseworker and independent living services coordinator for Rock County, WI – an experience that informed and shaped Dr. Zinn’s scholarship for years to come. Subsequently, Dr. Zinn was appointed Senior Researcher at the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. In 2012, Dr. Zinn and his family relocated to Lawrence, KS, where he joined the faculty of the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas. In 2018, Dr. Zinn was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure and was appointed as the Ph.D. Program Director of the School of Social Welfare.
Dr. Zinn, who considered his career to be his calling, was deeply focused on public child protection and family safety. Dr. Zinn’s methodology was unique, owing to his practical experiences as a child welfare caseworker, his training in quantitative and statistical methods, and his innate human empathy. During the course of his career, Dr. Zinn developed key collaborative work on critically understudied topics pertaining to foster care outcomes, including placement stability, housing, classroom bullying, the impact of juvenile court decisions, and foster child emancipation and transition to adulthood. Dr. Zinn’s research was supported by several major federal grants. Dr. Zinn’s pioneering work has strongly impacted child welfare scholarship and policy.
Dr. Zinn was also a devoted and inspiring teacher and mentor. Dr. Zinn’s life was cut tragically and unexpectedly short. Andy left behind his wife Melissa and their two children, who were the foundation of his life and his daily inspiration. Andy also left behind colleagues, students, friends, and relatives who all cherished his one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life charisma. Anyone who encountered Andy, whether for a day or a decade, recognized his utterly unique warmth, compassion, insight, and effervescent humor. Andy is treasured and missed by so many.
Your gift will move us one step closer to establishing the Dr. Andrew E. Zinn Memorial Fund in Social Work at KU. This endowed fund will live in perpetuity and ensure that Andy's legacy of teaching by doing will live on at the University of Kansas and support future generations of exceptional social welfare research students. For more information on endowed funds at the University of Kansas Endowment Association, click here.