TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- There is a workplace adage that nobody is irreplaceable, but its application to Dr. Janet Bahr is difficult to imagine for many of her colleagues at Northeastern State University.
Bahr, who arrived at NSU in 1984 and has worked in the Office of Academic Affairs since 1991, will retire effective Jan. 2, 2013.
A retirement reception for Bahr is Dec. 7 from 3-5 p.m. The come-and-go event is in the Tower Room of the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center. The program begins at 3:30 p.m.
"I feel like it is a good time for me to retire," Bahr said. "We have just gone through a re-accreditation of the university by the Higher Learning Commission and received an excellent report; we have outstanding new leadership in the president and provost positions, so I feel very confident in the future direction of the university."
In her capacity with academic affairs, Bahr was involved in three university accreditation visits by the Higher Learning Commission and numerous specialty accreditation visits. She also helped gain approval for 31 new degree programs.
"Maintaining the integrity and standards of excellence in the academic programs that we offer was always a high priority for me," Bahr said.
She was also the primary writer of the proposal for a statewide degree completion program for adults with significant college credit accumulated. Now known as ReachHigher, it is offered at 10 public Oklahoma universities.
In January 2010, NSU President Don Betz awarded Bahr the Order of the Clock Tower for exemplary service and leadership.
After earning her bachelor's degree in nursing from Wichita State University in 1973, Bahr worked briefly as a charge nurse with a labor and delivery unit before teaching for the nursing program at Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kan.
"I got that first teaching job on kind of a lark," she said. "A friend told me about the faculty openings at Butler. We both applied and were hired. It was during that time that I discovered that I loved teaching."
Bahr went on to teach nursing at Wichita State University where she was promoted to director of the undergraduate nursing program. She was awarded her master's degree at Texas Woman's University in 1978 and moved to Alva in 1982 to teach in the new nursing program at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
She was hired as nursing faculty at NSU in 1984 and was named director of the nursing program in 1985. She earned her doctorate degree in higher education leadership from Oklahoma State University in 1985.
When she first arrived at NSU, Bahr did not intend to stay for long. But she fell in love with the university, its people and its history.
"Furthermore, people kept taking chances on me," she said. ""Dr. Charlie Prigmore hired me initially when Roger Webb was president. Then Dr. Al Williams asked me to join the academic affairs office and President Webb approved the appointment at a time when there were not many women in leadership positions in higher education."
Bahr added that moving from the nursing discipline to administration was unusual for the time.
"Since my appointment as associate vice president of academic affairs there have been three of my nursing director colleagues who have been promoted to leadership positions in academic affairs at universities in Oklahoma," she said. "I was a bit of a pioneer and opened opportunities for other nursing administrators."
During her tenure at NSU, Bahr worked with six presidents and seven vice presidents. She said she learned from each of them and appreciated the opportunities they gave her.
"I feel like I have been fair and consistent in my decision making while treating others with respect and dignity," she said. "I would like to thank all the faculty and staff that I have worked with over the years to accomplish goals for the university – no one can accomplish much by themselves. I have had the good fortune to work with many outstanding individuals over my career. And I also thank my family for their love and support."
Published: 12/6/2012 11:42:20 AM