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Dr. Rick Ostrander '87 promoted with CCCU

Dr. Rick Ostrander '87 promoted with CCCU

  • October 7, 2014

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities has named Dr. Rick Ostrander as its new vice president for academic affairs and professional programs.

A scholar of American religion and a respected academic administrator throughout the CCCU, Ostrander brings more than two decades of experience in Christian higher education to the Council. He will begin his new role August 17.

“In Rick, we have found the right person at the right time for this essential and strategic leadership position,” said CCCU President Shirley V. Hoogstra. “I am thrilled that scholar and leader with his integrity and vision for Christian higher education will be joining our team, enriching and improving our membership services and student programs while modeling academic excellence for our faculty and administrators.”

“I’m excited about the opportunity to serve and support the CCCU’s BestSemester program directors around the world, who have worked tirelessly over the years to provide transformative education opportunities for our students,” Ostrander said. “In addition, the opportunity to support professional development and advance Christian scholarship throughout the CCCU is tremendously appealing. These are exciting and challenging times for Christian higher education, and I look forward to helping our Christian colleges and universities to thrive in the days ahead.”

Ostrander is currently the provost of CCCU member Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served since 2009. Before that, he served as dean of undergraduate studies and associate professor of history at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

“Dr. Ostrander has been an outstanding member of the Cornerstone University leadership team,” said Joseph M. Stowell, president of Cornerstone. “His commitment to rigorous academics, combined with administrative gifts and strong collegial instincts, has been a large part of our recent success. His departure is not good news for us, but it is great news for the CCCU. Rick’s gifted capacities will be an important addition to Shirley’s team, and in that sense we are pleased to be a part of advancing the health of all of our CCCU sister institutions.”

“As dean of undergraduate studies at JBU, Dr. Ostrander did a great job of expanding our international programs, producing, encouraging and supporting faculty scholarship, and directing our first-year experience program,” said Charles W. Pollard, president of John Brown University and chair of the CCCU Board of Directors. “He has written incisively for scholarly and student audiences on a great range of topics. He cares deeply for the mission, health and vitality of CCCU institutions, and will contribute tremendously to the strong leadership team at the CCCU.”

Ostrander received a Fulbright award in 2004 to teach and conduct a curriculum review at the University of Wurzburg in Wurzburg, Germany. He has written numerous articles and is the author of “Reconsidering College: Christian Higher Education for Working Adults” (2014) and “Why College Matters to God: Academic Faithfulness and Christian Higher Education” (2009).

“Rick Ostrander is a creative leader and scholar whose uncanny ability to listen and read contexts well has earned him respect among peers and colleagues,” said Mwenda Ntarangwi, executive director of the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education (IAPCHE). “He brings to the CCCU a wealth of experience in faculty development and program development, as well as a commitment to student learning and growth that are all unreservedly shaped by his Christian faith.”

“The CCCU leadership has envisioned an expansive role for their new academic vice president, and in Rick Ostrander they have found someone with the breadth of vision and experience to fill it,” said Mark Sargent, provost of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. “I have always admired Rick for his discernment, his scholarly depth, and his capacity to engage conversations with empathy and grace.”

“Rick Ostrander is an outstanding advocate for Christian higher education, both on this continent and in Africa and Asia,” said Joel Carpenter, director of the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity and former provost of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “It has been a real delight to see his creative work as provost of a neighboring institution and to know him as a friend and colleague. Rick is both friendly and thoughtful, a challenger and an encourager.”

Ostrander received his Ph.D. in American history at the University of Notre Dame and holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Michigan and Moody Bible Institute. He has also served on the CCCU’s Chief Academic Officers commission and has spoken frequently at CCCU campuses and academic conferences, discussing diverse topics such as the digital revolution, education for cultural influence, developing Christian virtues, and sustainable models of campus internationalization.

“Rick Ostrander will be a great addition to the CCCU. He has insightful vision for Christian higher education, and he has proven himself as an administrator who is efficient, energetic and gets things done,” said George M. Marsden, professor of history, emeritus, at the University of Notre Dame.

“Rick’s deep commitment to Christian higher education, academic excellence and global learning will position him well for success in his new role,” said Janet Sommers, senior vice president for academic affairs at University of Northwestern – St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota. “Rick possesses an authentic love for God and others that permeates his relationships and impels his professional achievements. He will serve our CCCU faculty with skill, discernment and enthusiasm.”


About BestSemester: The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities offers 10 off-campus study programs, collectively branded BestSemester®, which expand learning opportunities for students from CCCU campuses and are designated as culture-shaping or culture-crossing programs. Culture-shaping BestSemester programs are: American Studies Program (Washington, D.C.), Contemporary Music Center (Nashville) and Los Angeles Film Studies Center (Los Angeles). Culture-crossing BestSemester programs are: Australia Studies Centre, China Studies Program, Latin American Studies Program, Middle East Studies Program, Oxford Summer Programme, Scholars’ Semester in Oxford and Uganda Studies Program. Visit for program details.

About the CCCU: The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 181 intentionally Christ-centered institutions around the world. The 121 member campuses in North America are all regionally accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. In addition, 60 affiliate campuses from 19 countries are part of the CCCU. The Council’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit

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