Jane Chapin Tunnell taught English at Shimer College, then known as the Frances Shimer Academy of the University of Chicago, beginning in 1896.
Tunnell received her S.B. from Kansas Agricultural College in 1889. She subsequently worked as an assistant librarian at the college until 1892, and then taught high school in Manhattan, Kansas from 1892 to 1895. In 1895, she enrolled in graduate study in English and History at the University of Chicago, but joined the Shimer faculty before receiving her degree.