Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association

Charles Ostrom, PhD


Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice

Political science emeritus professor Charles “Rick” Ostrom was instrumental in the development of a number of social science initiatives during his 41-year career at Chico State, but none was more impactful than the distinguished Model United Nations program.

After forming a Model UN team in the 1970s, Ostrom created a program where hundreds of students learned the intricacies of international diplomacy in order to write and speak on behalf of any given country—the result? “Under Dr. Ostrom’s expert guidance and leadership,” said Department of Political Science chair Mahalley Allen, “the Chico State Model UN team became one of the most exceptional teams in the world, regularly achieving at significantly higher levels than teams from elite Ivy League universities.”

Beyond the many accolades won, the most important result was the benefit to team members. “Rick, with his immeasurable depth of knowledge and insight regarding world issues, taught and mentored students to gain a deep and vital understanding of the world,” said current Model UN adviser, John Crosby. “The Model UN program here at Chico State is a life-changing experience for the students who participate.”

After arriving to campus in 1967, Ostrom also led the social science program, the international relations program, and co-directed the Research in International Studies Education (RISE) program. RISE provides in-service training for K-12 teachers, which has special meaning for Ostrom as a former high school social studies teacher.

As an expert in international studies, Ostrom received several prestigious grants to conduct research in Asia, including a Fulbright Research Scholar grant to Singapore, a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad grant to Malaysia, and a Southeast Asia Curriculum Project grant to Indonesia and Malaysia.

Ostrom was also a well-known expert on political films and cartoons, publishing articles on the topic in leading journals nationally and abroad. Among the classes he taught during his long Chico State career were international relations, comparative government, and American foreign policy.

Following his retirement in 2006, Ostrom continued his campus involvement, returning to teach a few classes and, not surprisingly, volunteer to help the Model UN team.

“Rick Ostrom’s lasting legacy to Chico State is embodied in the generations of students who have benefitted both personally and educationally by his direct actions and immeasurable skills and talents,” said Crosby.

Portrait of Charles Ostrom, PhD