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Indiana University

New co-directors of IU’s Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis announced

June 25, 2012
Bloomington, Indiana --

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington has announced two co-directors to assume leadership of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis.

Distinguished Professor and Nobel Prize-winner Elinor Ostrom and her research colleague and husband, Vincent Ostrom, co-founded the Workshop in 1973, which was renamed in their honor earlier this year. Elinor Ostrom, who died June 12, 2012, won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. After serving as co-director for many years, Ostrom became senior research director of the Workshop in 2009 so she could focus on her many research projects. In 2010, Michael McGinnis, professor of political science in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, was appointed to a two-year term as director.

The Workshop's new co-directors are Tom P. Evans and Burney Fischer. Evans is associate professor of geography in the College of Arts and Sciences and has served as director of IU Bloomington's Center for the Study of Institutions, Population and Environmental Change. Fischer, a frequent research collaborator with Elinor Ostrom, is clinical professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington.

"The future of the Ostrom Workshop could not be in better hands," said McGinnis, outgoing Workshop director. "Both Tom and Burney are longtime 'Workshoppers,' and I know they have exciting plans for new programs and initiatives. The Ostroms both studied and practiced collaboration throughout their long and distinguished careers. For several years, we have been implementing a plan to transition to a collective team of leaders. We are committed to the goal of ensuring that the Ostrom Workshop will continue its co-founders' legacy of path-breaking multidisciplinary research and graduate training."

The Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis brings together scholars and researchers to investigate how human behavior is shaped by institutions and to analyze how public policies affect people's lives. The central themes of Workshop-related research include self-governance, democratic reform and collective action in the context of sustainable natural resources.

Evans' responsibilities will focus on coordinating the Workshop's expanding research activities and initiatives. Fischer will focus on managing the Workshop's active programming schedule -- including graduate seminars, visiting scholars, working groups, fundraising and various collaborations -- as well as managing operations of the Workshop building complex and staff.

"Although all of us in the IU community feel the loss of Lin Ostrom's leadership keenly, we are pleased and grateful that Professor Evans and Professor Fischer have accepted this important co-leadership role at the Workshop," said Sarita Soni, vice provost for research at IU Bloomington. "I look forward to working with both of them to continue developing the Workshop's research programs as well as solidify its structure and governance for the future."

Evans and Fischer will serve as co-directors for two years, starting July 1, 2012.

The Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis is supported, in part, by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, which works with faculty, centers, institutes and schools across the IU Bloomington campus to foster excellence in research and creative activities and to enhance opportunities for external funding.