RSG Newsletter

April 2014
Regent University Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner

View RSG e-Prospectus

Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.Dear Friends,

Recently, we co-hosted a two-day conference on Ethics in Media and Culture, an event featuring two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Manny Garcia of The Miami Herald. The conference focused on the ethical challenges presented by whistle-blowing, investigative journalism and the Snowden affair. A half-dozen RSG faculty and friends also participated in the conference.

It is not surprising for RSG to focus on the media because many of our alumni have gone on to careers in journalism or as writer-researchers for think tanks, elected officials and political campaigns. You'll meet one author-alumna in this newsletter, Chelsen Vicari, who previously served at Concerned Women for America and now works as the Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) in Washington, D.C.

As Evangelical Program Director, Vicari's weapon is the mighty pen, and her essays, op-eds, and blogs advocate for the sanctity of human life, the traditional family, and religious liberty.

Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean, Robertson School of Government
1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464

Watch the "Get to Know RSG" video.

Read more about RSG alumni.

For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.

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Faculty Story: Dr. Mary Manjikian - The Crisis in Ukraine

Dr. Mary Manjikian

Dr. Mary Manjikian

Russian President Vladimir Putin formally signed a treaty in late March, annexing the strategic region of Crimea into Russian territory.

In a speech to the Russian Parliament, he defiantly brushed aside international condemnation and blasted the West for encroaching on Russian interests.

In response, the Regent University's Robertson School of Government (RSG) hosted a lively lunchtime panel discussion on the "Crisis in Ukraine." The panel was moderated by Dr. Ionut Popescu, associate professor in RSG and included presentations by Dr. Mary Manjikian, associate dean of RSG; Dr. Olya Zaporozhets, assistant professor in the School of Psychology & Counseling; and Rear Admiral William McCarthy, USN (Ret.), an RSG student.

Manjikian discussed Russian foreign policy and its new strategic priorities. During the discussion, she warned that at this point, the United States has little leverage in terms of trying to influence or coerce Russia.

"They (Russia) don't see themselves as really needing anything that the West has. You talk about carrots and sticks -- the problem is I don't know that we really have any carrots and I don't know that we really have any sticks either," Manjikian said. McCarthy described the strategic significance of the Black Sea and the history of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

Zaporozhets described her experiences growing up and being educated in Ukraine, as well as how Ukrainian citizens view current events. The students described the forum as interesting and useful for understanding the changing events in this important region.

The Robertson School of Government utilizes both academics and practitioners as teachers, allowing students to learn from those who have studied international issues and those who have experienced and participated in them.

Watch Dr. Manjikian' s televised video about the Crimea crisis.

Student Story: Stephen Pincus - Battalion Chief

Stephen Pincus

Stephen Pincus
RSG Student

RSG student Stephen C. Pincus currently serves as Battalion Chief with the Newport News Fire Department in Newport News, Virginia. He credits much of his career success to his education at the Robertson School of Government (RSG). Mr. Pincus recently shared the impact of RSG on his career to members of the Regent University Board of Trustees. In his own words below is a reflection of Mr. Pincus' "Journey to RSG."

In 1984 as a young adult, I began my career in the fire department in Newport News, Virginia. At that particular time I paid little attention to the application of faith in the workplace. However, I did believe I needed to set an example to those around me by my actions. As I progressed through the ranks, I began to question whether I was in the right place.

Considering a mid-career change, I called my brother-in-law Jon, who serves as a judge on an appeals board in Washington, D.C. for advice. Driven by a strong interest in constitutional law, I told Jon that I was considering pursuing a law degree. He suggested that I contact a professor from Regent University's Law School. However, after speaking with the professor, I found that the Robertson School of Government was more in line with my career goals and interests.

After enrolling in RSG, little did I realize the impact that furthering my education in RSG would have on my career development and advancement. In 2009, I received a promotion to my current position, Battalion Chief of Support Services, as one of the administrators of the fire department. Dividends from attending RSG were beginning to pay off. I was able to apply things I learned in my coursework to my job duties.

For example, while taking an RSG Budgeting and Taxation course, the class worked on a group project that developed a Balanced Scorecard for the City of Virginia Beach. As a result of my work in the class, modifications to Newport News' balanced scorecard model were made based the project that was presented to the City of Virginia Beach. This project allowed me to bring a fresh approach back to my job in Newport News.

Another example includes the Hampton Roads Public Employees Benefits study completed for my RSG Human Resources course. This work became the basis for a salary study which I conducted on Hampton Roads Area fire departments. The data I collected and assimilated was ultimately provided to an outside consulting firm hired by the city. The consulting firm confirmed the findings of disparity among various salary levels between cities.

The RSG course State and Local Government presented yet another opportunity to have a "real world" project with far reaching implications. The project was not only presented to RSG faculty member, Dr. Robert Dyer, but it was also presented to the Virginia Governor's Task Force on Unfunded Mandates.

Furthermore, using this project, I was able to develop a recommendation concerning one of the unfunded mandates for Newport News' legislative analyst to present to the General Assembly representatives. Modifications to the State's Fair Labor Standards regulation, if enacted, would free up approximately $345,000 for the fire department allowing the department to address budgetary shortfalls in other areas.

Despite these important learning opportunities and outcomes, the most valuable component of my RSG experience are my interactions with RSG faculty members, Dr. Dyer, Dr. Roberts and Dr. Slack. As professors, they provide not only practical guidance but mentorship that has contributed to my spiritual growth.

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Alumni Story: Chelsen Vicari '11 - Reaching Out

Chelsen Vicari

Chelsen Vicari

The Robertson School of Government (RSG) embraces the mission to train leaders who desire to strengthen the ethical and moral foundation of Judeo-Christian principles in government, and who seek to preserve individual freedom, representative democracy and constitutional government.

Through her work with the Institute of Religion and Democracy (IRD), alumna Chelsen Vicari `11 carries out this mission daily. IRD is a faith-based alliance of Christians who monitor, comment and report on public policy issues affecting mainline churches and faith-based institutions.

Based in the nation's capital, Vicari explains that her role as Evangelical Program Director for IRD involves "a quest to reform the church's role in public life, protect religious freedom, and support democracy at home and abroad." Working on a variety of public policy issues, she credits the training she received at RSG with equipping her to understand how education, faith and a career in public policy are innately connected.

Vicari frequently writes about relevant public policy issues to bring awareness to various audiences. "Vicari's weapon is the mighty pen, and her essays, op-eds, and blogs advocate for the sanctity of human life, the traditional family, and religious liberty," says RSG Dean Eric Patterson.

A native of Virginia, Vicari originally came to Regent University to pursue a Juris Doctorate in Law. Armed with an undergraduate degree in political science and history, she says, "after a long, hard year of studying law, I found out my passion was public policy." She decided to alter her education path by enrolling in RSG to pursue an M.A. to prepare for "action in the public square."

After graduating from RSG, Vicari worked for Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation's largest public policy women's organization.

The opportunity came as a direct result of taking RSG course, The United Nations, taught by RSG Professor Emeritus Philip Bom. Vicari met the president of CWA who was impressed by the class' commitment to public policy issues. "Taking this class incorporated both in-class theory and real-life experience," says Vicari.

Vicari worked as a temporary lobbyist for the United Nations. She also landed an internship with CWA and eventually was offered a full-time position working directly for the CWA president. Vicari believes, "I would not be sitting in Washington, D.C. now advocating for Judeo-Christian principles and church engagement in public policy if I had not taken this RSG course."

Reflecting on her time at RSG, Vicari remarks that RSG professors and administrators not only equipped her with the necessary academic knowledge to succeed but also provided the support system to survive the sometimes harsh realities of working in public service. She shares, "There is no better place to learn than Regent University's Robertson School of Government."

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Recent Events

Ethics in Media and Culture

On March 21-22, the Robertson School of Government partnered with the School of Communication & the Arts to host the first annual Ethics in Media and Culture Conference on the Regent University campus. The conference focused on the ethical responsibility of media sources that collaborate with self-proclaimed "whistle-blowers" who leak classified information. The conference provided a forum for sharing of ideas, presentation of research findings and discussion of professional issues relevant to media ethics. The event attracted over 100 academic scholars, journalists, former military officials and local students to discuss ethical challenges and dilemmas posed by protecting national security while respecting the public's expectation of privacy and its "right to know."

Three expert panels, one composed of local and national journalists and one of retired senior military officials, offered contrasting perspectives on today's national debate stirred by the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The keynote speaker, world-renowned media ethicist Dr. Clifford Christians, addressed in his talk "The Ethics of Truth and Crisis of Modernity." Another distinguished guest, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Manny Garcia, held a well-attended workshop for the conference participants on "Data Mining, Internet Searches and Interviewing Sources."

Several faculty members from both Regent and other universities presented original research papers related the themes of the conference, and these scholarly papers will be published as an edited volume in the near future.

The conference also hosted the presentation of the first annual Chuck Colson award to Dr. Clifford Christians for his contribution to the study of ethics in communication.

MPA Program's National Advisory Board visit to Campus

The National Advisory Board (NAB) of the Robertson School of Government's Master of Public Administration (MPA) program paid a three-day visit to the campus of Regent University. The NAB is comprised of internationally acclaimed practitioners and scholars with the task of providing advice to enhance the MPA program. Two issues are central to NAB activity at this time: (1) student recruitment and graduate placement, and (2) preparing the MPA program for its forthcoming application for accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Already accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS-CoC), the MPA program is seeking special accreditation through NASPAA. Less than 25 percent of all MPA programs in the nation have earned the coveted NASPAA accreditation. Robertson School of Government's MPA program will begin the NASPAA accreditation process in 2015.

NAB members include:

  • Mr. Sam S. Gaston, NAB chair and past president of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Mr. Gaston is city manager of Mountain Brook, Alabama.
  • Dr. Thomas E. Copeland, Associate Professor of Political Science at Geneva College (Pennsylvania).
  • Dr. Margery Coulson-Clark, Associate Professor of political science and public administration at Elizabeth City State University (North Carolina).
  • Dr. Kevin R. den Dulk, the Paul Henry Chair in Political Science and the Executive Director of the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College (Michigan).
  • Dr. Marvin J. Folkertsma, professor and Chairman of the Department of Political Science at Grove City College (Pennsylvania).
  • Dr. Mark David Hall, the Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics at George Fox University.
  • Mr. James B. Oliver Jr., Chairman of Hampton Roads Center for Civic Engagement.
  • Dr. Carol J. Pretlow, associate professor of Political Science and founding Director of the Consortium for Strategic and Global Studies in the Department of Political Science at Norfolk State University (Virginia).

Mayors Speak at Annual ELS Forum

0 Before an audience of 420 at Regent University's Executive Leadership Series luncheon, the leaders of South Hampton Roads gathered on Thursday, March 27, to discuss the most pressing issues of the region: transportation, military downsizing and diversity.

See more photos.

Mayors from five cities shared their vision for the future of Virginia's first and largest region. Dr. Alan Krasnoff, mayor of Chesapeake; Paul Fraim, mayor of Norfolk; Kenneth Wright, mayor of Portsmouth; Linda Johnson, mayor of Suffolk; and William Sessoms, mayor of Virginia Beach, participated.

See more photos.

Read the full story.

RSG Updates Annual Oxford Trip

0Regent University's Robertson School of Government (RSG) will return to Oxford, England, this summer with a new pair of courses in government and law. The study abroad program is open to RSG and Regent Law students and alumni, as well as advanced undergraduates in the College of Arts & Sciences and other interested participants.

The first session will run June 23-July 4, offering a course taught by Law professor Thomas Folsom, "Liberty, Law, and Politics: Islamic and Western Perspectives" (GOV 646/LAW 575). The course is a survey of the law and politics of the Western legal tradition and the Islamic legal tradition as they relate to aspects of religious liberty like belief, speech, practice, proselytization and conversion.

Read the full story.

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Upcoming Events

U.S. Department of State Info Session
Thursday, April 10, 2014
View event details

Defense Against the Dark Arts Series:
Ethics at the National Security Council

Thursday, April 24, 2014

RSG Commissioning Service
Friday, May 2, 2014
View event details

Regent University Commencement
Saturday, May 3, 2014
View event details

Armed Forces Day Military Concert
Regent University - Main Theatre
Saturday, May 17, 2014

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