Professional News

'Great Teacher' Cortney Lollar Learns With Her Students


Video produced by UK Public Relations and Strategic Communications and Marketing and Brand Strategy. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 11, 2022) — Six of the University of Kentucky's passionate and accomplished educators were surprised earlier this spring by student nominators and the UK Alumni Association as 2022 Great Teacher Award recipients.

Cortney Lollar is one of this year’s Great Teacher Award recipients. As the James and Mary Lassiter Professor of Law in the J. David Rosenberg College of Law, Lollar enjoys the reciprocal learning relationship between herself and her students.

“I love the process of helping students learn — and they help me learn. It’s an ongoing conversation. They help me to think about both the law and the world in ways that I might not,” Lollar shared. “I am hopeful that many of our students are going to go out there and do amazing things that are going to change the world. I am not only hopeful, I feel fairly confident in saying that.”

Lollar previously served as a public defender, representing adult and juvenile defendants at the trial and appellate level in Georgia and Washington, D.C. She has also served as a legal consultant in India for the Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge (I-MAK) and as a research assistant to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.

“I care very deeply about what’s going on in the criminal legal system and the issues there,” she said. “I want my students to have a sense of how the law operates in practice, not just in theory. So that’s very important in terms of how I teach.”

Lollar teaches and researches in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure and evidence, with a particular focus on the intersections among criminal law, remedies, race, gender, sexuality and social science.

Her work has been cited by the United States Supreme Court as well as federal and state courts. Lollar’s expertise in criminal law and procedure have led to her invited testimony before the Department of Defense Judicial Proceedings Panel on sexual assault in the military and Chief Justice Roberts's Ad Hoc Committee to review the Criminal Justice Act Program (also known as the Cardone Commission).

“The reason I do what I do is because of my students and to have a student take the time to (nominate me for this award) and even to feel that way — to consider me in that light,” Lollar said. “I am deeply touched and deeply moved by the honor.”

Learn more about why this UK Alumni Association 2022 "Great Teacher" loves to help her students find their passions in the video above, and check out this week's "Behind the Blue" podcast also featuring Lollar.

Lollar is just one of the 2022 UK Alumni Association Great Teacher award winners. This summer, UKNow will highlight each of these Great Teachers. Watch their stories here.

Initiated in 1961, UK’s Great Teacher Award is the longest-running UK award recognizing teaching. In order to receive the 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.

Courtney Lollar,  teaches in her law class on January 31, 2022. Photo by Mark Cornelison | UK Photo
Courtney Lollar, teaches in her law class on Jan. 31, 2022. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.