Law Professor Tim Zinnecker receives Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award for 2021

Photo of Law Professor Tim Zinnecker

RALEIGH — Campbell Law Professor Tim Zinnecker is the law school’s recipient of the Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award for 2021, Dean J. Rich Leonard announced on April 19.

Zinnecker joined the Campbell Law faculty as a tenured member in 2011. He arrived with an established, successful career as a scholar and teacher. Zinnecker was a tenured professor at South Texas College of Law for more than a decade before coming to Campbell Law. During that time, he also engaged in numerous stints teaching across the country, having been invited to teach as a visiting law professor at Samford University, Florida State University, the University of Richmond and the University of Houston. 

As a tenured professor at Campbell Law, Zinnecker regularly teaches Contracts to incoming first-year students and Secured Transactions to graduating third-year students.  Both classes are core doctrinal courses that every student with a Campbell Law degree must master. Zinnecker has the highest student contact among the faculty, yet balances individual student needs with grace, compassion and time.

Zinnecker is renowned for creating a learning environment that is engaging, effective, clear, concise, organized and thoughtful.  He has a special skill for taking complex, rules-based material and making it accessible to students encountering it for the first time.  His class instruction includes a mixture of Socratic method, practical application and skills-based learning.  Zinnecker employs repeated formative assessments in his classes for tracking student outcomes. 

“These commitments to student learning are all vital qualities that make Professor Zinnecker a worthy recipient of the Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award,” Leonard said.

Zinnecker’s teaching effectiveness is best described by those students under his care, Leonard said. “His student course evaluations for class preparation, knowledge of the subject matter and overall teaching effectiveness are stellar.”

Zinnecker’s reputation as an intellectually gifted academic who channels difficult subjects into understandable concepts is reflected in his recent student evaluations. “He is extremely knowledgeable about this subject matter and you can tell that he wants us to be successful. I feel confident in his teachings,” one student wrote. Another student added, “Professor Zinnecker is an amazing professor.  He respects students so much and is open to new perspectives.  He is always happy and makes me want to learn in class without feeling anxious about being called on.”

The student body overall has repeatedly recognized the impact of Zinnecker’s outstanding pedagogy.  He was named Professor of the Year in 2014 and 2018.

Zinnecker is a productive scholar whose research focuses on commercial law and teaching effectiveness.  His publications are myriad, including “Nine Questions for the Article 9 Professor,” 64 Saint Louis U. L.J. 311 (2020); “Syllogisms, Enthymemes, and Fallacies: Mastering Secured Transactions Through Deductive Reasoning,” 56 Wayne L. Rev. 1581 (2010); “Socrates, Syllogisms, and Sadistic Transactions: Challenges to Mastering U.C.C. Article 9 Through Deductive Reasoning,” 13 Chap. L. Rev. 97 (2009); “When A Hundred Grand Just Isn’t Enough: 50 Hypotheticals that Explore the Contours of FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage,” 72 Tenn. L. Rev. 1005 (2005); and “Pimzy Whimsy in the Eleventh Circuit: Reflections on IN RE ALPHATECH SYSTEMS, INC.,” 40 Gonz. L. Rev. 379 (2005).

In addition to his heavy teaching load, Zinnecker serves Campbell Law in a host of ways. He served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for five years from January 2012 through June 2017. In recent years, he has served on numerous committees, including Student Admissions, Curriculum, Academic Standards and Support, Orientation, Faculty Recruitment, Teacher Development, Mentoring and Scholarship and Learning Outcomes Assessments.

Zinnecker earned a B.S.B.A from Central Missouri State University as a summa cum laude graduate and member of Phi Kappa Phi. He then earned his juris doctorate, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and the law review’s management team. Following graduation, Zinnecker served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Frank X. Gordon on the Arizona Supreme Court and the Honorable Edith Jones on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Prior to entering academia, he practiced complex commercial law in Houston, Texas. 

“Campbell Law is fortunate to have such an exceptional professor, colleague and friend who is committed to the lives and careers of its students,” Leonard added. “We take enormous pride in recognizing Professor Zinnecker for his excellence in the classroom and contributions as a servant-scholar.”


Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,200 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2021, Campbell Law is celebrating 40 years of graduating legal leaders and 12 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.




Lisa Snedeker Writer

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