Educational psychology scholar earns Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Michael Bahr, associate professor of educational psychology, research and evaluation at UMSL, will receive the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Sept. 26 during the annual State of the University Address. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Michael Bahr isn’t a great educator just because he knows everyone of his students’ names or makes himself available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What makes him a truly great educator is his ability to connect with his students.

Bahr, associate professor of educational psychology, research and evaluation at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, will receive the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The honor will be presented with a plaque and $1,000 honorarium during the annual State of the University Address on Sept. 26 in the J. C. Penney Building/Conference Center at UMSL.

“Mike’s deep respect and genuine interest in the welfare of all people truly permeate all aspects of his life,” said Donald Gouwens, associate clinical professor and chair of the Department of Educational Psychology, Research and Evaluation at UMSL. “His personal and professional values are perfectly aligned and guided by his high moral and ethical standards. Mike not only practices what he preaches, he lives it. I have never worked with a more patient and selfless colleague who so readily gives of himself. At the first sign of need, Mike’s immediate reply is not if he can help, but what can he do to help. Add in an unwavering commitment to excellence, and these qualities engage and elevate everyone with whom he comes into contact.”

Bahr said his teaching style is about interacting and working with the strengths of each student.

“I structure my classes by planning discussion and not too much lecture for the purpose of creating an engaging learning environment,” Bahr said. “Because organization and structure benefit all learners, I construct well-developed syllabi, provide explicit requirements for each class session and use a daily agenda prior to beginning a class session to establish expectations. Because I believe all students can learn, I am always willing to adapt and modify instruction to accommodate the learning needs of students.”

His students agree that these traits shine through in Bahr’s teaching, making his classroom an amazing learning environment.

“His class was much more of a discussion than lecture, but bountiful learning,” said one former student. “We all felt like important class members, and everything we had to say was also important. The environment was a safe place to share and change opinions.”

Another student said Bahr is by far the best professor she’s had the opportunity to take classes with.

“He is knowledgeable, approachable and excited about his area of expertise,” she said. “Of all the classes I attended at UMSL, the ones taught by Dr. Bahr have most affected my practice as a school psychologist.”

Bahr joined UMSL’s School Psychology Program in the College of Education in 2005. Prior to joining UMSL, Bahr has worked as a psychologist in Tennessee, Michigan and Indiana. He was a certified school psychologist in Michigan and a licensed school psychologist in Indiana. He has held faculty positions at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and Indiana State University in Terre Haute.

He earned a bachelor’s in philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College in St. Louis, a master of education degree in counseling from UMSL and a doctorate in educational psychology with specialization in school psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington.


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