Miguel Urquiola Named Teacher of the Year

Professor Miguel Urquiola is the recipients of the 2013 Outstanding Teaching Awards. Honorees are chosen by a vote of SIPA students, who recognize one instructor of a large course each year.

“Effective teaching is essential to our mission of training public-policy practitioners and leaders,” said interim dean Robert Lieberman. “We’re fortunate to have many great instructors among our SIPA faculty, and it’s a pleasure to recognize some of the very best each year.”

Miguel Urquiola, who was honored for his work in a large course, teaches multiple sections of Economic Development for International Affairs, a required course for students in the Economic and Political Development concentration. The key objective of the course, he writes, is to give students a framework to think about the processes that drive economic development and the policies that might promote it.

He is an economist by training and scholar of education policy in the developing world and especially Latin America. His studies of educational markets focus on the effects of school choice on stratification and school quality. Urquiola joined the Columbia faculty in 2003 and became an associate professor in 2009. He is currently finishing a one-year term as vice dean for academic affairs.

“Professor Urquiola was without any doubt the best teacher I've had at SIPA,” wrote Itay Gefen MIA ’14. “He is able to explain incredibly complex concepts in a very simple way,” wrote Elyse Klein, MIA ’13. 

Praise from Students for Miguel Urquiola

Professor Urquiola was without any doubt the best teacher I've had at SIPA. He was inspiring and a real academic role model for me. The best part about his course is that it perfectly combines interesting theories with practical skills to use at any work, in the development field and beyond. He has a fascinating professional experience which he shared with us often, making us want to get to the field and conduct research on our own. — Itay Gefen MIA ’14

He is able to explain incredibly complex concepts in a very simple way. He makes you feel like anyone can master economics…. a wonderful teacher.— Elyse Klein MIA ’13

I am not sure if anything I could say would ever do justice to what a wonderful instructor Miguel is and how much he deserves this award…. [He] has the most uncanny knack for leveling the playing field and making complicated material accessible to everyone without making it boring. His passion for it is infectious. What's more, he genuinely cares about his students — he has helped me with everything from SIPA administrative issues to my job search, and has always been fully responsive and supportive. He is honestly my favorite professor I've ever had, and SIPA is lucky to have him. — Shannon Malone MIA ’13