Peter Riley Bahr

Associate Professor

Peter Riley Bahr, School of Education

In his research, Peter Bahr seeks to deconstruct students' pathways into, through, and out of community colleges and into the workforce or on to four-year postsecondary institutions. His latest work is focused particularly on students' course-taking and enrollment patterns in the community college and their subsequent labor market outcomes, such as employment and earnings, as well as the impact of students' varied patterns of course-taking and enrollment on the assessment of community college performance. He also recently was awarded a research grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to study older learners in Ohio’s community colleges with colleagues at the Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University. In a separate line of inquiry, he is investigating students' navigation of the STEM transfer curriculum in community colleges, with the objective of strengthening the pipeline of students into STEM baccalaureate programs. Bahr joined the faculty of the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan in 2009. He previously held a faculty appointment in the Department of Sociology at Wayne State University (2004-2009), a research appointment in the Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges (2001-2003), and a research appointment in the California Department of Education (2000-2001). He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California-Davis.

Bahr teaches courses in the following program(s):
Academic Affairs and Student Development
Higher Education
Higher Education and Master of Public Policy (Dual Degree)
Higher Education and MBA (Dual Degree)
Individually Designed Concentration
Higher Education Institutional Research


Selected Publications

Bahr, P. R., McNaughtan, J., & Jackson, G. (under review). Low hanging fruit: How can community colleges stem the loss of students with demonstrated STEM potential? Research in Higher Education.

Bahr, P. R. Boeck, C., & Cummins, P. (under review). Strengthening outcomes of older students in community colleges. Higher Education: Handbook of Theory & Research.

Dikhtyar, O., Cummins, P. A., McGrew, K., & Bahr, P. R. (under review). Strategies employed by Ohio community colleges to improve labor market outcomes for older students. Community College Journal of Research and Practice.

Bahr, P. R., Fagioli, L. P., Hetts, J., Hayward, C., Willett, T., Lamoree, D., Newell, M. A., Sorey, K., & Baker, R. B. (2019). Improving placement accuracy in California’s community colleges using multiple measures of high school achievement. Community College Review, 47(2), 178-211.

Moss, B. G., Bahr, P. R., Arsenault, L., & Oster, M. (2019). Knowing is half the battle, or is it? A randomized experiment of the impact of supplemental notification letters on placement exam participation, preparation, and performance. Research in Higher Education, 60, 737-759.

Bahr, P. R. (2019). The labor market returns to a community college education for non-completing students. Journal of Higher Education, 90, 210-243.

Fairlie, R. W., & Bahr, P. R. (2018). The effects of computers and acquired skills on earnings, employment and college enrollment: Evidence from a field experiment and California UI earnings records. Economics of Education Review, 63, 51-63.

Cummins, P., Brown, J., Bahr, P. R., & Mehri, N. (2018). Heterogeneity of adult learners in higher education. Adult Learning, 30, 23-33.

Bahr, P. R., McNaughtan, J., Jackson, G., Oster, M., & Gross, J. (2017). Unrealized potential: Community college pathways to STEM baccalaureate degreesJournal of Higher Education88, 430-478.

Bahr, P. R. (2017). Skills builders in Michigan community colleges. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, University of Michigan.

Bahr, P. R. (2016). The earnings of community college graduates in California. New York: Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Bahr, P. R. (2016). Replacing placement tests in Michigan's community colleges. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, University of Michigan.

Bahr, P. R., Dynarski, S., Jacob, B., Kreisman, D., Sosa, A., & Wiederspan, M. (2015). Labor market returns to community college awards: Evidence from Michigan. New York, New York: Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Bahr, P. R., Gross, J. L., Slay, K. E., & Christensen, R. D. (2015). First in line: Student registration priority in community collegesEducational Policy29, 342-374.

Bahr, P. R. (2014). The labor market return in earnings to community college credits and credentials in California. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, University of Michigan.

Bahr, P. R. (2013). Classifying community colleges based on students’ patterns of useResearch in Higher Education, 54, 433-460.

Bahr, P. R. (2013). The deconstructive approach to understanding community college students’ pathways and outcomesCommunity College Review, 41, 137-153.

Bahr, P. R. (2013). The aftermath of remedial math: Investigating the low rate of certificate completion among remedial math studentsResearch in Higher Education, 54, 171-200.

Bahr, P. R., Toth, C., Thirolf, K., & Massé, J. C. (2013). A review and critique of the literature on community college students’ transition processes and outcomes in four-year institutionsHigher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, 28, 459-511.

Booth, K., & Bahr, P. R. (2013). The missing piece: Quantifying non-completion pathways to success. Oakland, California: LearningWorks.

Bahr, P. R. (2013). What we don’t know about community college students: The case for a better understanding of student pathways. Stanford, California: Center for Education Policy Analysis, Stanford University.

Bahr, P. R. (2012). Deconstructing remediation in the community college: Exploring associations between course-taking patterns, course outcomes, and attrition from the remedial math and remedial writing sequencesResearch in Higher Education, 53, 661-693.

Bahr, P. R. (2012). Student flow between community colleges: Investigating lateral transferResearch in Higher Education, 53, 94-121.

Bahr, P. R., & Booth, K. (2012). What’s completion got to do with it?: Using course-taking behavior to understand community college success. Berkeley, California: Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges.

Bahr, P. R., Booth, K., & Willett, T. (2012). Segmentation model for assessing course-taking patterns: Research methodology and discussion guide. Berkeley, California: Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges.

Bahr, P. R., Massé, J. C., Christensen, R., Griffiths, B., Toth, C., Thirolf, K., Nellum, C. J., Bergom, I., & Lee, M. (2012). Transition processes of transfer students in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, University of Michigan.

Bahr, P. R. (2011). A typology of students’ use of the community collegeNew Directions for Institutional Research, S1, 33-48.

Bahr, P. R., Bielby, R., & House, E. (2011). The use of cluster analysis in typological research on community college studentsNew Directions for Institutional Research, S1, 67-81.

Bahr, P. R. (2010). The bird’s eye view of community colleges: A behavioral typology of first-time students based on cluster analytic classificationResearch in Higher Education, 51, 724-749.

Bahr, P. R. (2010). Making sense of disparities in mathematics remediation: What is the role of student retention? Journal of College Student Retention, 12, 25-49.

Bahr, P. R. (2010). Preparing the underprepared: An analysis of racial disparities in postsecondary mathematics remediationJournal of Higher Education, 81, 209-237.

Bahr, P. R. (2010). Revisiting the efficacy of postsecondary remediation: The moderating effects of depth/breadth of deficiencyReview of Higher Education, 33, 177-205.

Perry, M., Bahr, P. R., Rosin, M., & Woodward, K. M. (2010). Course-taking patterns, policies, and practices in developmental education in the California community colleges. Mountain View, California: EdSource.

Bahr, P. R. (2009). Educational attainment as process: Using hierarchical discrete-time event history analysis to model rate of progressResearch in Higher Education, 50, 691-714.

Bahr, P. R. (2009). College hopping: Exploring the occurrence, frequency, and consequences of lateral transferCommunity College Review, 36, 271-298.

Felmlee, D. H., Flynn, H. K., & Bahr, P. R. (2008). Too much of a good thing: Fatal attraction in intimate relationships. Free Inquiry in Creative Sociology, 36, 3-14.

Bahr, P. R. (2008). Cooling out in the community college: What is the effect of academic advising on students’ chances of success? Research in Higher Education, 49, 704-732.

Bahr, P. R. (2008). Does mathematics remediation work?: A comparative analysis of academic attainment among community college studentsResearch in Higher Education, 49, 420-450. [Reprinted in E. M. Zamani-Gallaher, J. Lester, D. D. Bragg, & L. S. Hagedorn (Eds.). ASHE reader on community colleges, 4th edition. (2014; pp. 625-652). Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Publications.]

Bahr, P. R. (2007). Race and nutrition: An investigation of black-white differences in health-related nutritional behaviorsSociology of Health & Illness, 29, 831-856. [Reprinted in W. Ahmad & H. Bradby (Eds.). Ethnicity, health and health care: Understanding diversity, tackling disadvantage (2008, pp. 35-59). Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing.]

Bahr, P. R. (2007). Double jeopardy: Testing the effects of multiple basic skill deficiencies on successful remediationResearch in Higher Education, 48, 695-725.

Bahr, P. R., Hom, W., & Perry, P. (2005). College transfer performance: A methodology for equitable measurement and comparisonJournal of Applied Research in the Community College, 13, 73-87.

Bahr, P. R., Hom, W., & Perry, P. (2004). Student readiness for postsecondary coursework: Developing a college-level measure of student average academic preparationJournal of Applied Research in the Community College, 12, 7-16.



Research Affiliations


7/1/2016 - 6/30/2019 Mapping Barriers to Community College Completion among Older Learners: Identifying Malleable Factors to Improve Student Outcomes
Granting Agency: Miami University/IES



Curriculum Vitae