Rick Ostrander hired for new program development position


Rick Ostrander, Westmont College

Dr. Rick Ostrander, recently hired by Westmont

Chloe White, News Editor

Westmont recently hired Dr. Rick Ostrander to fill a position newly created by the college. The position seeks to foster innovation and expansion in Westmont’s programs.

This two-fold role allows Ostrander to focus program development in on- and off-campus programs, but specifically with Westmont Downtown. His official title is the Assistant to the President for Global Education, Innovation and New Program Development. 

Ostrander outlined the responsibilities of this role as “working with the institution, faculty and departments to look at the future of higher education but also the ways we can appropriately adapt to changing conditions while still remaining true to our mission of being a Christian liberal arts college.”

Additionally, Ostrander will be the new Executive Director of Westmont Downtown. His goal in this position is to look for “ways we can expand our downtown presence, both educationally and in terms of community relations.”

President Beebe commented that Ostrander’s position is deliberately broad in scope in order to give Ostrander latitude to help in many different areas of the college. He commented, “We wanted to do something to supercharge the areas where we need new program development or enhanced program development of some that have been underway.”

Hailing from a vast background of work in Christian colleges, Ostrander looks forward to continuing his career in academia at Westmont College. He earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Notre Dame and taught history at John Brown University. Since 2015, Ostrander has served as the Vice President for Research & Scholarship for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

Westmont’s open provost position initially attracted Ostrander to the college. While visiting campus for an interview, he was impressed by Westmont’s combination of community and academics. President Beebe commented, “I found him very impressive even though, in the end, we didn’t select him for our provost and continued the search. I’m really grateful that he was willing to come and put his expertise to work at Westmont to build out some of the areas that we had uneven enrollments in.”

Ostrander looks forward to a number of opportunities as he steps into this role, among them, enjoying the Santa Barbara environment. “We love the downtown vibe and Santa Barbara definitely has that even though it’s a small city. Also, I’m still an academic, I’m a history professor by nature, so the chance to teach with faculty and be part of an academic community is really exciting.”

In his free time, Ostrander enjoys road biking and has taken advantage of the college’s proximity to popular biking destinations like Gibraltar Road. He also emphasized the importance of schools like Westmont to his family: “My wife and I are the parents, directly and indirectly, of six Christian college graduates. Our four kids have all attended CCCU schools, so we are a true Christian college family.”

With the development of the nursing program and the recent purchase of a new Westmont Downtown building, Ostrander jumped right into his new role and looks forward to investing in the health and longevity of Westmont.

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