Professional News

University Senate Re-elects Jennifer Bird-Pollan as Senate Council Chair

Senate Council Chair Jennifer Bird-Pollan

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2019) — This past fall, the University Senate welcomed Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Robert G. Lawson Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law, as the new Senate Council chair. Bird-Pollan’s first term ends May 31, 2019, and she was re-elected in December to serve another term from June 1, 2019–May 31, 2020.

After receiving her bachelor's degree in philosophy and French from Penn State University, Bird-Pollan went on to earn her master's and doctoral degrees in philosophy from Vanderbilt University. She taught philosophy at Vanderbilt and Harvard College and eventually went on to receive her law degree from Harvard Law School. Bird-Pollan joined the UK faculty in 2010 and the University Senate in 2014. 

"I have always been interested in faculty governance, and joined the Senate originally to ensure that the College of Law had a voice in this important body, and to get some firsthand experience learning about what was happening at the rest of the university," Bird-Pollan said. "I have so admired the people that I have met through the Senate, including in particular the previous chair, Katherine McCormick. I saw accepting the nomination for Senate Council chair as an opportunity to continue Katherine’s good work, and be a part of the important conversations happening across campus about the future of the university."

In this new role, Bird-Pollan facilitates weekly Senate Council meetings, meets regularly with the provost and president to communicate University Senate happenings, and actively participates in committees on campus. Bird-Pollan hopes to cast a new light on University Senate and bring new awareness of what University Senate can offer faculty. 

"I am excited about the prospect of the growth of the university’s offerings as part of Our Path Forward, and am eager to see the Senate involved in the development of new and innovative programs," Bird-Pollan said. "I would also like to see faculty from across the university see the Senate as a resource for them, and consider joining the Senate or joining one of our important committees. Faculty governance requires faculty participation, and the more faculty join our body, the more robust that governance will be."

The University Senate determines broad academic policies of the university and votes on a number of topics that affect the university as a whole. Faculty who are interested in joining University Senate can learn more about Senate and the expectations for senators. Additionally, there is detailed information on the Senate’s website about the deadlines for specific types of Our Path Forward proposals being submitted to increase the number of programs being offered through distance learning; also available is information about the approval processes and the required Senate forms.

Upcoming University Senate deadlines for review and approval of customary curricular proposals include: 

New degree program proposals. If seeking a fall 2019 effective date, proposals must be received by the Senate Council office from the appropriate academic council by Feb. 11, 2019. Proposals submitted after this deadline will likely have an effective date of fall 2020.

Proposals requiring committee review (new certificates, transfers of a degree, new department, change to credit requirements, significant program changes). Must be received by the Senate Council office from the appropriate academic council by March 15, 2019.

Courses, minors and all other program changes. Must be received by the Senate Council office from the appropriate academic council by April 15, 2019.

If faculty have questions regarding programs, deadlines or the approval process, contact Sheila Brothers at For information regarding courses, the Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) or UK Core, contact Joanie Ett-Mims at   

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