Professional News

Great Teachers 2023: Jennifer Bird-Pollan guides students through complicated tax law

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2023) — In February, the University of Kentucky Alumni Association honored the six recipients of this year’s Great Teacher Awards. Launched in 1961, they are the longest-running UK awards that recognize teaching. Over the next six weeks, UKNow is highlighting the passionate and accomplished educators who were named a 2023 Great Teacher.

Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Ph.D., associate dean in the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law, is one of this year’s Great Teacher Award recipients. She joined the UK faculty in 2010 and is now the Judge William T. Lafferty Professor of Law. She teaches federal income tax, estate and gift tax, international tax, partnership tax, corporate tax and a seminar in tax policy.

“Part of what I love about my area is that it touches so much of what happens, not just in the law, but in society and in people’s lives more broadly,” said Bird-Pollan.

Bird-Pollan’s research is focused on tax law and philosophy, specifically the taxation of wealth transfers and issues of sovereignty in international taxation.

She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, her Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University and her B.A. in philosophy and French from Penn State University. Before law school she taught undergraduate philosophy courses at Vanderbilt and at Harvard College.

“Teaching is just so fun,” she said. “Watching students get to take a knotty problem — they’re sweating, they’re thinking so hard and they hit that moment of understanding and that’s such a satisfying moment.”

Prior to coming to UK, Bird-Pollan practiced law as an attorney in the tax department of the law firm of Ropes & Gray in Boston, focusing primarily on partnership tax and non-profit tax law.

In order to receive a Great Teacher award, educators must first be nominated by a student. The UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award Committee, in cooperation with the student organization Omicron Delta Kappa, then makes the final selection. Recipients receive an engraved plaque and stipend.

Hear the stories from all the 2023 Great Teacher Award winners here.

Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Ph.D., associate dean in the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law
Great Teacher Award recipient Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Ph.D.
Great Teacher Award recipient Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Ph.D.

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