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Last modified: Monday, February 25, 2013

Search committee formed to name new director of IU's Ostrom Workshop

Feb. 25, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A search committee has been formed to identify finalists for the position of executive director of Indiana University's Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis.

Following the deaths of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom in June 2012, the committee is conducting a national search for the Workshop's next leader.

Commons Workshop

The Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis

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Currently, the Ostrom Workshop is co-directed by Tom Evans and Burney Fischer, who took over leadership shortly after the Ostroms' deaths. Evans is associate professor of geography in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington. Fischer is a clinical professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington.

The Ostroms co-founded the Workshop in 1973 and served as its co-directors for decades. Under their leadership, the Workshop built an international reputation. Elinor Ostrom was a co-recipient of the 2009 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, generally known as the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. In 2009, she transitioned to the role of senior research director.

The Nobel committee cited Elinor Ostrom's "analysis of economic governance, especially the commons" as the basis for the award. Through a multidisciplinary approach that combined theory, field studies and experiments, she showed that ordinary people are capable of creating rules and institutions that allow for the sustainable and equitable management of shared resources. The Ostroms and others at the Workshop have provided key insights into topics such as the role of local institutions in American democracy, management of irrigation systems in Spain and effective delivery of development aid in India and Zambia.

"The Ostrom Workshop's interdisciplinary, globally relevant scholarship is of tremendous value to IU Bloomington and the world," said Lauren Robel, provost of IU Bloomington. "I am confident that our committee will conduct this search with the care, diligence and thoroughness that befits this outstanding workshop. The new director will continue a legacy of transformative scholarship focused on achieving positive outcomes for communities throughout the globe."

Since its inception, the Ostrom Workshop has focused on collaboration among scholars and students from the university and visiting scholars from around the world on research concerning problems of collective action related to common-pool resource management, public policy and democratic governance. Current areas of research include climate change and governance; health care management and policy; natural resource management and community institutions; sustainability in social-ecological systems; political economy of democratic institutions; and experimental research on public economics.

"The Ostrom Workshop has become widely recognized as both a vigorous research institute and a collaborative center that is unique and has proven its ability to bring together many diverse faculty, students and visitors to address society's challenges," said Sarita Soni, the vice provost for research at IU Bloomington and the chair of the search committee. "Given the distinguished leadership provided by the Ostroms, which included sharing knowledge through outreach to policymakers and communities all over the world, we're seeking a leader who will further develop the Workshop and its research mission."

The committee will recommend finalists to IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel for review.

The members of the search committee, all from IU Bloomington, are:


Sarita Soni, vice provost for research


  • David Audretsch, School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Daniel Cole, Maurer School of Law
  • Alyce Fly, School of Public Health
  • Eric Leeper, Economics Department, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Lesa Major, School of Journalism
  • Peggy Thoits, Sociology Department, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Charles Trzcinka, Kelley School of Business

More information about the Workshop executive director search, including the full position posting, can be found on the Workshop's executive director search Web page.