Regent University Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner
Dear RSG Friends,
Happy New Year! Allow me to re-introduce you to two of our signature programs: our Oxford summer program, which is open to both students and friends of RSG, and the Ronald Reagan Symposium.
Many of our alumni have fond memories of studying in Oxford, walking through Magdalen Meadow, punting on the Isis River, visiting the Bodleian Library, and attending seminars in the beautiful buildings in Oxford. I invite you to visit the webpage for our Oxford program to learn more about the summer 2014 course offerings. There is a short video description of my own summer course on the ethics of war, as well as a video by Law Professor Tom Folsom, who will teach a course on comparative Western and Islamic law. We also have some great guest speakers and fieldtrips planned. Alumni and students from other universities are also eligible to participate in this program. Please contact my office if you have questions about the program.
Second, on February 7, 2014 Regent University will host the ninth annual Ronald Reagan Symposium focused on the 50th anniversary of Reagan's "A Time For Choosing" speech. We have nationally-recognized speakers including Amity Shlaes, Claire Berlinski, Ryan T. Anderson, Joseph Loconte, and others responding to the themes and legacy of Reagan's 1964 speech. More information can be found here.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean, Robertson School of Government
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Before each of his inaugurations as governor of Missouri, John Ashcroft requested that his father, an Assemblies of God minister, lead a prayer service to ask for God's guidance. When he won a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1995, his father was very ill but made the train ride to Washington, D.C., to attend the dedication service.
As he was about to anoint his son with oil, the elder Ashcroft shared, "The spirit of Washington is arrogance, and the spirit of Christ is humility. Put on the spirit of Christ. Nothing of lasting value has ever been accomplished in arrogance."
Ashcroft knelt in front of the sofa where the minister was seated and noticed his father trying to lift himself off the couch. "Dad, you don't have to struggle to stand and pray over me."
"John," his father answered, "I'm not struggling to stand; I'm struggling to kneel." Ashcroft was sworn into the Senate later that day. His father died the next evening.
Ashcroft brought this same spirit of wisdom and humility to the Senate, and later to the office of Attorney General of the United States. After America was attacked on September 11, 2001, Ashcroft reorganized the Justice Department to focus on its number-one priority — preventing another terrorist attack.
Leveraging every legal tool available to law enforcement, including the critical provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act, the Justice Department initiated an anti-terrorism campaign that has assisted in disrupting more than 150 terrorist plots worldwide, dismantling terrorist cells in cities across America and convicting nearly 200 individuals.
When Ashcroft left office, violent crime was at a record low, gun crime was at an all-time low, a successful corporate crime crackdown had been launched and terrorist attacks on the U.S. had been prevented. In 2005, Ashcroft brought his wisdom and experience—along with his father's lesson of humility—to the position of Distinguished Professor of Law and Government at Regent University.
The students noticed these characteristics immediately. "Each fall, General Ashcroft invites students to his home in Virginia Beach to eat ice cream and have some fun," says Regent Law student Elise Girani. "It is such an experience to see a prominent political figure eating ice cream and laughing with law students. General Ashcroft organizes party games, which often get quite competitive, and ends the evening by playing the piano and singing hymns."
Why did Ashcroft choose to invest in Regent students? "This is a place where you can pursue learning and the truth with real intensity," Ashcroft answers, "and God has not been placed off limits. So often in secular environments people say, 'You can pursue the truth, but if you get close to God in this process, you can't go there.' Well, frankly, God is truth, and to place the cornerstone or core of truth off limits in an inquiry is to prejudice the inquiry."
Ashcroft takes an active role in the lives of Regent students, both as a professor and community leader. "Personally interacting with the great men of our age such as General Ashcroft is truly what a university education is all about," says law alumnus, Joshua Bachman, "and Regent answers the call."
"Going beyond his responsibilities in the graduate schools of law and government, Ashcroft has taken time to speak with undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) about the true benefits of freedom. "He has a passion for noble public service and leadership," explains CAS Dean Gerson Moreno-Riaño, "and an exemplary desire to share his life and wisdom with these students."
Ashcroft is as grateful for the students as they are for him. "Regent students are serious performers," he says. "Our law students have been national champions in moot court competitions. They have also been formally recognized for writing top quality briefs among the nation's very best."
"It's an honor for me to have an opportunity to again devote my life in some measure to education and to young people and students. There is no more noble pursuit than that of investing in the future."
Prior to coming to Regent, Justin Murff worked as a vice president/general manager for a television network, was active in local and international politics and served as chairman for Republicans Abroad in Vienna, Austria.
But when the time came for him to further his education, Murff wanted a school that would provide him with an excellent education in international relations and public administration and held the traditional values founded in a Judeo-Christian worldview.
He chose Regent University which combined the caliber of professors, the quality of education and the commitment to faith that he was seeking.
"I always wanted a graduate degree, but I wanted to attend an institution that was Christ-centered with the highest academic standards and provided an opportunity to learn from respected professionals with real-world experience. Regent University, specifically the Robertson School of Government provided everything I was looking for in a graduate school," says Murff.
Seeking to earn a Master of Art in Government with a focus on International Relations, Murff applied and was accepted into the Robertson School of Government. Currently, he is in the final stages of completing his degree.
"Writing the thesis was the most challenging part of my journey but was very rewarding," reflects Murff. "The RSG faculty expect excellence; they teach you to demand the same of yourself," says Murff.
Professionally, Murff serves as the grants and foundations manager for the Christian Broadcasting Network working with foundations to partner with CBN operations around the world. CBN currently reaches 138 countries, in 39 languages. Murff is also a faculty member of the Leadership Institute located in the nation's capital.
"Every day I am working with leaders from around the world. RSG taught me how to manage these high level relationships," says Murff.
Murff also serves on the planning committee for the World Congress of Families and is a member of the Royal Society for International Affairs in London, England. "Only Regent could prepare me to fulfill the calling the Lord has for me," says Murff.
"If you're serious about serving in government or in the non-profit sector, there is no better place to be equipped than the Robertson School of Government at Regent University."
Justin's wife Jennifer is a Regent University graduate (School of Business & Leadership '12) and is currently working on her Doctor of Strategic Leadership degree. They have three daughters and live in Virginia Beach, Va.
From Hawaii to Africa to the Balkans and beyond, Lucas Moon '10 (Government) has led reconciliation teams, traced human-trafficking routes and influenced policy at the United Nations. With determination of mind and an action plan in hand, Moon believes in employing the knowledge he gleaned from his education at Regent University and the University of Nations, a part of Youth With A Mission (YWAM). "I don't want to be a person who gets degrees and never has been out and 'done the stuff.' I'm always looking for ways to apply what I learn," he affirms. Moon is passionate about thwarting injustices perpetrated against humanity, which was what eventually brought him to Regent University's Roberston School of Government (RSG).
One evening in 2005, he experienced an epiphany: "I was rocked," he recalls. Sitting at home in Kona, Hawaii, Moon watched a television documentary showing how the International Justice Mission (IJM) had rescued young girls from prostitution in Cambodia. That night, Moon knew his life would never be the same. The horrors of human trafficking prodded him to immediately invite IJM leaders to come to the University of Nations where he was involved in leadership. Moon was convinced that YWAM's university should incorporate a school of government to equip Christians to combat injustice. Visiting Regent in 2007, he had one mission in mind. He believed RSG was a successful model of the program he hoped to develop in Hawaii. "I was simply going to pick up a syllabus and reading list," he recalls. Instead, as he walked through Robertson Hall, Moon was immediately impressed with the real reason he was there. "This wasn't for YWAM, it was for me!" With total assurance in this shift of plans, he quickly applied to Regent's graduate school.
"Regent allowed me to continue to serve YWAM while coming alongside others with the same interests," Moon recalls. He took his first year of study online, allowing him to remain in Kona with his family and work at the University of Nations. "I instantly fell in love with the issues," Moon recalls. Regent's curriculum and YWAM's cross-cultural field assignments fit together hand-in-glove. One of Moon's first assignments in "Introduction to Human Rights" was to undertake a case study. At that time Moon was leading a YWAM team in the battle against human trafficking in the Balkans, Morocco, Russia and Ukraine. Moon subsequently wrote his case study about trafficking in Bosnia. Because of his university research status, he was allowed rare access to interview one of the ministers of government in Sarajevo. "The master's program was in perfect alignment with my own passions, taking what I'd learned in my classes and directly applying it," Moon reflects. Desiring a relational education community, Moon transferred to the campus in Virginia Beach for the first semester of his second year. "I wanted to argue with my professors," he laughs. Sharing how one of his professors spent hours talking with him at a local coffee shop, Moon relates, "To me, that's where the deep learning takes place... where those relational moments take you beyond the material."
Ultimately, one of Moon's government classes reshaped his future. "Basically, I took a course that ruined my life—in a good way," he jokes. While taking a course on the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Moon did some research internships in New York City at the U.N. Seeing firsthand how powerfully U.N. resolutions can influence world culture, he was moved. Moon realized that when various nations coalesce over issues, consequently shaping international policy, billions of lives are impacted. Once believing he was to teach others how to engage in social justice issues, Moon was now certain of another shift in his plans: He should work directly in the international political sphere. With a proven gift for leadership and a vision of becoming a positive influence in the arena of world politics, Lucas Moon is preparing for the new challenges ahead and is awaiting his next assignment. "My future plans are a five to 10-year plan with palms wide open," Moon muses. "I've had an amazing life, and I feel like this is another amazing chapter."
General Dick Abel — Defense Against the Dark Arts: Ethical Changes
Regent University's Robertson School of Government (RSG) launched a new speaker series this week, "Defense Against the Dark Arts." On Tuesday, Jan. 7, RSG hosted Brigadier General Dick F. Abel, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), to discuss the ethical challenges a career in public service poses.
"We've started this series under the notion that people do know right from wrong, whether or not they're willing to uphold it," said RSG dean, Dr. Eric Patterson. "Can a Christian really function in public life without lying? Do you have to put your values in the closet to get things done? We don't believe that to be true."
Abel doesn't either. In his long career as a public affairs officer, Abel has seen all manner of war and scandal. In other posts with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Campus Crusade, and the International Olympics Committee, he's seen servant leadership win hearts.
"If you want to make a difference in your marketplace, you have to know who you are; you have to like who you are; and you have to be who you are," he said.
From admirals and cadets, to Olympians and college quarterbacks, Abel's reputation as a man of integrity has given him personal influence in a number of fields.
"It doesn't matter where you are; your work is your place of ministry," he told students in attendance. "If you're a ditch digger, your job is to minister to the other people in the ditch with you."
In one example, Abel described his close working relationship with Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. The "salty" leader of the U.S. Pacific Command during Vietnam spent lots of time with Abel. "I never said one thing about my faith, but I served him and loved him where he was," said Abel. The McCains ended up attending church with the Abels.
"Regardless of people's ethics around you, respect them for who they are and let them see who you are," he encouraged. "Your influence is in how you live and how you love."
Throughout his years in the military, Abel was involved in many major, historic events, like bringing home POWs from China and the Desert One operation in Iran. "In all these incidents, my superiors knew exactly who I was—not just my faith or my background, but my heart," he recalled. "You build your credibility with your bosses so that they know, recognize and respect your integrity."
Though he was faced with many ethical dilemmas in his dealings with the media over the years, he never once lied to a member of the press, nor was he ever given an order to lie. Years of rock-solid character had positioned him to be both trusted and respected.
"Do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons and you'll be on the right side every time," he said. "You can be a follower of Jesus in any arena if you're a person of conviction."
Abel left students with a word of advice on legacy. "What you do today will stay with you forever," he said. "Your legacy is who you meet every day and how you impact them."
Abel is the author of two books, The DNA of Leadership and Vector Corrector.
ELS Randy Forbes
At Regent University's Executive Leadership Series luncheon Monday, Dec. 9, Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA 4th District) addressed a crowd of hundreds, discussing leadership in America.
"If we can climb out of the emotional fray, most of us can generally agree the American government needs leadership," he said. "But what kind of leadership does America need?"
Forbes outlined the type of leader that many business schools teach, a type based on ability to motivate, productivity, and how one dresses and speaks. But that's not real leadership, the Congressman explained. That's management.
Read the full story.
Ethics and Media in News Culture Conference
Regent University's School of Communication & the Arts and the Robertson School of Government are collaborating to present our first Ethics in Media and News Culture conference from Friday, March 21 to Saturday, March 22, 2014 at Regent University. We will have keynote speakers, including scholars and professionals. Our esteemed doyen of communication ethics, Dr. Clifford Christians, has agreed to serve as a keynote speaker. The conference will focus on the ethical responsibility of media sources that collaborate with self-proclaimed "whistleblowers" who leak classified information and will provide a forum for the sharing of ideas, presentation of research findings and discussion of professional issues relevant to media ethics.
Read the official "Call for Papers."
2014 Reagan Symposium
Friday, February 7, 2014
Regent University Campus - Main Theatre
View event details and register
Executive Leadership Series — James H. Morgan
Thursday, February 13, 2014
The Founders Inn and Spa
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
View event details