RSG Newsletter

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

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Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.Dear Friends,

In many ways May was "military month," and we have just finished celebrating our nation's heroes as well as working with them in a variety of venues. We do this because we are proud of those who serve—in and out of uniform—and Regent consistently is ranked as a top military-friendly institution. In this newsletter you will read about our Armed Forces Day concert, featuring the U.S. Army TRADOC Band, honoring all those currently serving in uniform. It was a thrilling sight to see so many military families and veterans stand up during the playing of the songs of each branch of service, including the university chancellor (a former Marine), a law school faculty member (a former Army JAG), and one of our deans (Air National Guard). We also feature in this edition of the newsletter a recent conference that I helped organize at the U.S. Naval War College on religion and security in international affairs; a war college-style staff ride led by Dr. Ionut Popescu to a Civil War battlefield; as well as meet some students and alumni like Clarin Gniffke and Alise Krapane. With all of this in mind—and Flag Day and Independence Day around the corner—I hope that you will join me in pausing for a moment of thanksgiving for the many blessings we have in this great country and ask God's protection on those who serve in harm's way.

Warm regards,

Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean, Robertson School of Government

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Faculty Story: Dr. Ionut Popescu - The Battle of Fredericksburg

Dr. Ionut Popescu

Dr. Ionut Popescu

On Saturday, April 12, Dr. Ionut Popescu led a group of nine Regent students (both local and online) to the Fredericksburg National Battlefield Park in Fredericksburg, Va., to conduct an active learning exercise called a "staff ride." The staff ride is a unique technique for conveying the lessons of the past to the present day. Historically, staff rides have evolved over time, but the primary objective is to develop leaders by intensive learning on the ground at historic sites. In 1906, students from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College conducted their first staff ride when 12 students and one member of the faculty traveled from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to Georgia.

For this exercise, each RSG student prepared a brief presentation "in character" as a leading general officer during the Civil War battle at Fredericksburg. They defended their own character's actions when interrogated by their classmates as the group walked to key strategic places on battlefield.

Dr. Ionut Popescu with RSG students in Fredericksburg, Va.

Walking the battlefield allowed the students to understand the importance of terrain, logistics, and "heat of battle" tactical and strategic decisions. The students also had to wrestle with the uncertainty inherent in battlefield intelligence, and with questions such as "How would I have acted in his place?" and "Should he have made a different decision given the information he had?"

"In retrospect, the students came away from the exercise with a better understanding and even some empathy for the tough decisions faced by the battlefield commanders in historic times, even the ones later considered to have been absolute failures," says Popescu. The staff ride has earned accolades from students and faculty alike as a powerful technique of instruction. The next RSG staff ride is scheduled in spring 2015 and is open to both students and a small number of alumni.

Student Story: Clarin Gniffke - Pressing Toward The Mark

Clarin Gniffke

Clarin Gniffke

Robertson School of Government (RSG) student Clarin Gniffke is excited about her last semester of graduate school. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Gniffke is no stranger to Regent University. She took her undergraduate courses on the campus of Regent University.

After graduating, she began working in Washington, D.C., as a congressional staff member before starting her studies at RSG online. "I loved the experience of working on the Hill and being in the hustle and bustle of political life," says Gniffke.

However, tragedy struck—a car accident sent her home to Texas. She required three back surgeries and a long road of recuperation and therapy. "I pursued my dream of working on Capitol Hill, only to have that dream shattered after a car accident. That started a whole new set of circumstances that I hadn't planned on—spending time in the hospital, moving home to live with my parents, and starting over." But Gniffke was determined to press on despite the obstacles she faced.

Gniffke chose RSG to pursue her Master's degree because of the same foundation of Christian values she experienced in her undergraduate classes. She says, "The ability to complete my degree entirely online was also attractive since I work full time."

Gniffke currently works for U.S. House of Representatives member Kay Granger (R-Texas). She says she appreciates that RSG not only prepares students to be professionally successful, but also fully equipped to handle ethical dilemmas in a God-honoring way not always found in government circles.

Gniffke admits working full-time and pursuing an online education has equal challenges and rewards. "I think in my case there were some challenges as a student that most others may not experience. Juggling work and school is always difficult!" She says all of her RSG professors were willing to help her be successful while demanding high academic standards.

Gniffke recalls her three favorite classes as Intelligence & National Security with Associate Professor Mary Manjikian, Terrorism & Disaster Consequence Management with Rear Admiral Larry Baucom (USN, ret.), and Political Communication with Associate Professor Robert Dyer. "The rewarding part of each class was the ability to immediately use the practical knowledge I gained in my workplace." Inspired by her boss, Congresswoman Granger, she plans to pursue a career in the intelligence community or in another public service position.

Gniffke believes that the Regent University motto, Christian Leadership to Change the World, transcends the bounds of any one job and focuses us on being a representative of Christ no matter where we are or what we do.

Poised to graduate at the end of the summer with a Master of Arts in Government with a concentration in International Politics, Gniffke will complete her studies abroad with RSG's Oxford Study Abroad program.

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Alumni Story: Alise Krapane '14 - RSG's 1,000th Graduate

Alise Krapane '14

Alise Krapane '14

During the spring of 1984, the Robertson School of Government (RSG) celebrated the commencement of its first graduating class. This year as RSG marks the close of its 30th anniversary, it did so by launching its 1,000th graduate, Alise Krapane.

A native of Riga, Latvia, Krapane earned her Master of Arts in Government with a concentration in International Relations.

Krapane learned about Regent University from an RSG alum while completing an internship with The Leadership Institute, located in Arlington, Va.

"By visiting the campus during a Regent University Preview weekend, I was greatly impressed with the quality of the master's program and the beautiful campus, but most of all with the leaders of the university and the RSG faculty," says Krapane.

Krapane soon became the recipient of a full scholarship from Regent University. She also secured a position as a research assistant for Dean Eric Patterson, where whe worked on two book projects. Patterson says, "Alise is one of our top writers and her editing skills were invaluable to the projects."

Krapane credits RSG with playing a crucial role in her studies. "RSG has added immensely to my knowledge of Western political thought, government principles, and international relations. An exciting learning experience was to delve into the political thought of the Middle East and North Africa region," Krapane says.

Admittedly challenged with the high standards of the school, Krapane says she was required to constantly expand her own abilities in academic writing and class discussions with her peers. "During class while studying principles of government, leadership, research methods, economics, international relations or human rights, we also explored the underlying principles and the challenges of application for just governance."

Before coming to Regent, Krapane who speaks several languages, worked as a translator and tried a stint as an entrepreneur of a coffee shop.

"RSG is an outstanding graduate government school. Dedication to excellence, hard work and principle-based leadership—these are the values that I experienced during my time at RSG, and I am very grateful for this life-changing opportunity," says Krapane.

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Recent Events

Dean Patterson Speaks for Naval War College

Benjamin S. Carson Sr., M.D. Dean Eric Patterson assisted the Naval War College(NWC) in Newport, R.I. with a conference entitled "Religion and Security in International Affairs" on May 7-8. Before coming to Regent, Patterson previously ran the government outreach program for Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, leading similar efforts at the National War College, Naval Postgraduate School, Armed Forces Chaplains Center, and elsewhere. The conference focused attention on how to think about religious factors in war, peace, development, and diplomacy and featured a variety of speakers including Katherine Marshall (Georgetown), Thomas F. Farr (Georgetown), Paul Pillar (Georgetown), Hayat Alvi (NWC), Knox Thames (U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom), Hassan Abbas (National Defense University), retired Ambassador John Campbell (now at the Council on Foreign Relations), Dayne Nix (NWC), and Timothy Demy (NWC).

Patterson remarked, "although most of our speakers are on university faculties, they come with much real-world experience. For instance, Marshall was an executive at the World Bank, Farr the director of the U.S. State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom, Pillar worked for the CIA, and Abbas was a Pakistani government official. John Campbell was U.S. ambassador to Nigeria and is a leading expert on Boko Haram." The conference focused attention on how American diplomats, aid workers, and military personnel can be religiously and culturally aware when engaging foreign audiences abroad. Learn more about the conference.

2014 Armed Forces Day Concert

0 With the public recognition of Memorial Day each year, another lesser-known national holiday in May often goes unnoticed. But on Saturday, May 17, Regent University celebrated Armed Forces Day, honoring the men and women who faithfully serve in the United States Armed Forces, with a concert by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Band.

"Armed Forces Day recognizes those men and women currently serving in uniform at home and abroad—our first line of defense against foreign enemies," said Dr. Eric Patterson, dean of the Robertson School of Government (RSG), which co-hosted the annual event with the School of Communication & the Arts. "Regent is a military-friendly institution, and we are always proud to highlight this distinctive by inviting the community to our campus for an upbeat concert of patriotic music."


Celebrating a 30-Year Legacy of Principled Leadership

"We were a small university, but we were offering an education many elite universities could not provide." This statement, made by professor emeritus Dr. Philip C. Bom, described the humble beginnings of what is now known as the Robertson School of Government (RSG). For the past 30 years, the school has continued to offer students an education they cannot find anywhere else, emphasizing Christian values and academic rigor.

During the annual Clash of the Titans® debate last fall, Regent University's founder, chancellor and CEO, Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson, spoke of one of the school's legacies: "The Robertson School of Government was named in memory of my father, U.S. Senator A. Willis Robertson, who represented Virginia in Congress for more than 30 years. My father never forgot that he was a servant of the people and that his private and public life must be above reproach."


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RSG Hosts Annual Funders Forum

On May 15, The Robertson School of Government (RSG) hosted Volunteer Hampton Roads (VHR), the region's preeminent nonprofit management organization, for their annual Funders Forum. VHR's annual Funders Forum brings leading foundation advancement experts to share expertise and best practices regarding the fundraising process.

Over 100 participants from local nonprofits attended the half day plenary session and associated breakout workshops. Kate Meechan, executive director of VHR, welcomed the audience and reinforced her gratitude for the support of Regent University.

Each session emphasized the Golden Rule principles of cultivating authentic relationships with donors, promoting both the growth of the giver, and providing the necessary support for accomplishing the worthy missions undertaken by the nonprofit sector.

"The nonprofit sector is an essential and growing component of our public service system. RSG's Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program offers a Nonprofit and Faith-Based Organization concentration providing students with outstanding education in the key management competencies for both practitioners and entry level students desiring careers in the nonprofit sector," says RSG Professor Gary Roberts.

RSG works closely with Volunteer Hampton Roads and has found the partnership to be beneficial for RSG students in gaining exposure to exciting internship opportunities.


Upcoming Events

Virginia Symphony
Saturday, June 14, 2014
View event details

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