Regent University Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner
Dear RSG Friends,
RSG continues to bustle with activity, from the recent Reagan Symposium to preparation for this month's Media & Ethics Conference. At the latter, co-sponsored with Regent's School of Communication & the Arts, attention will be focused on information ethics, from whistleblowing to government secrets to the responsibility of the press in a free society. Part of our distinctive is this focus on values—we do not believe that the study of politics is simply the description of realpolitik. Rather, real people make decisions about worth, wealth, and welfare in ways that affect millions of people every day. In other words, we recognize that statistics, history and political theories are rooted in values judgments and moral theories, and we are striving to flame within our students a sense of moral responsibility and the confidence to act. That is Christian leadership to change the world.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean, Robertson School of Government
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Dr. Jeffry H. Morrison
Dr. Morrison spoke at a conference on "The Character and Statesmanship of George Washington" at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va on Feb. 21, 2014. His remarks were titled "The Religious Statesmanship of George Washington." The conference was part of a continuing education seminar for Virginia high school teachers and was co-sponsored by Christopher Newport University's Center for American Studies and the Washington, Jefferson & Madison Institute (WJMI) in Charlottesville, Va. Morrison has been invited to join the board of visitors of the WJMI.
Institutional collaboration is often very useful in enhancing students' learning experiences, collaborating in research and learning activities and providing students with opportunities to have their research critiqued, as well as take part in professional forums. Leaders of the future also have an obligation to share their ongoing research, from a Christian and Biblical perspective, with their peers who may not always include or appreciate the spiritual dimension of knowledge even as they attempt to craft solutions to solve the problems of the 21st century.
On Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, several Regent University masters and doctoral students did both, when they took part in Old Dominion University's 12th annual Graduate Research Conference, organized jointly by the Graduate Program in International Studies and several other stakeholders. In attendance at this important function were the dean of the College of Arts and Letters and the provost of Old Dominion University. The keynote address was delivered by Professor Desmond Dinan, a professor of public policy, chair of the International Commerce and Policy Program and the Jean Monnet chair in European Public Policy at George Mason University.
In all, five Regent University students presented at the day-long conference. In a demonstration of the rigor of the research conducted by the Regent University students, Marie Mahoney, a master's student at the Robertson School of Government, won one of the three Best Paper Awards which were presented during the keynote speech. Two students, from the doctoral program in organizational leadership, Mignon Burton and Mrs. Lawanne Ross-Grant, presented during one of the first panels in the morning.
The short title of Mignon's paper was "Unearthing the Moral and Authentic Leader", and touched on leadership styles and how they impact the nature and flow of innovation, productivity, profitability and organizational sustainability, especially important in the 21st century. The research also examined the impact of leadership on good citizenship. Mrs. Ross-Grant's paper was titled "Antecedents to Satisfaction and High Performance in Distance Education." She presented her research on distance education, the perceptions of students and faculty and the reasons that drive them to favor online education. Her research, important to Regent University as one of the premiere distance-education providers of higher education, found that students preferred distance education due to flexibility and options of choosing a program, and that professors who performed well had support and resources provided by the university as well as evaluations provided by students and the university.
The afternoon sessions were dominated by students from the Robertson School of Government, from the fall 2013 semester Presidential Leadership and the Middle East Politics classes. Focusing on one of the regions that have been in the news and conscience for the past three years, Kevin Via's paper was titled "Marginalization of the Syrian Middle Class: Consequences and Comparisons." Kevin explored the historic and colonial circumstances of Syria, the rise of the now-ruling Alawite minority, transition to a majority society and how this contributed to the current situation and the legacies of colonialism.
Marie Mahoney's prize-winning paper was titled "U.S. & Iranian Relations: Is There a Bend in the Rocky Road?" Given the recent "rapprochement" with Iran after the election of the new president last year, and given the past and on-going overtures between Iran and the United States and with the rest of the world, this paper explored the historic U.S.-Iranian ties since Mossadegh, the Shah and post the Iranian revolution, and posted very thoughtful questions regarding the future of U.S.-Iranian relations. The final paper, presented by Jonathan Bergstrom, was titled "Divided or Concentrated: Switzerland, America and the Executive Branch." Jonathan's paper compared Switzerland's executive branch with that of the United States of America. This research disclosed that Switzerland's executive branch is run by a federal council comprising of seven members, of which one is appointed "president" — quite the contrast with the U.S. executive system. Jonathan provided some historical context arising from the founding of the United States, where the founders briefly toyed with a three-man presidential council.
For some of the students, it was the first time presenting at a graduate conference; the experience provided them with not only valuable opportunities to share their research with other scholars, but also to get feedback and benefit from a critique of their work. The conference also provided opportunities to network and perhaps collaborate in the future as they further develop their research and scholarship. Taking a leaf from these students, I would be remiss not to encourage other students to find avenues to present their on-going research, for example at the forthcoming Virginia Social Sciences Conference and other conferences in their respective professions.
After going to work for the Christian Coalition in 1997, Gary Marx '02 (Government) came into contact with Robertson
School of Government (RSG) graduates—and he was impressed. He began to see how his grassroots experiences and a degree from Regent could prepare him for where he felt God was calling him. Marx was accepted to RSG and spent the next two years immersing himself in the concepts of public policy and servant leadership.
Marx was awarded the prestigious Beazley Scholarship, an honor that allowed him to enjoy a scholarship luncheon with Regent's founder, chancellor and CEO, Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson. Marx gratefully used this encounter to learn more about the chancellor's thoughts and heart toward the area of government.
That moment and the time he spent being sharpened in the classroom, along with constant dialogue among fellow students, helped Marx hone his gifts and talents in the area of public service. His interaction with professors and guest speakers helped prepare him to apply what he was learning in real-world scenarios in the political realm.
Marx says he was particularly struck by the concept that the Golden Rule and Book of Proverbs apply to everything in life and have a fundamental application—ideas confirmed during his time at Regent.
His career path has included high-level posting as conservative coalitions director for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign in 2008 and also at the Bush-Cheney '04 national campaign headquarters. His coalitions program helped increase former President George W. Bush's share of the "values voters" to 21.3 million, or 36 percent of the total Bush vote.
Joining the Faith and Freedom Coalition (FFC) in 2011 as the executive director, Marx has had ample opportunity to apply what he learned at Regent to his current area of influence.
While with the FFC, his greatest focus has been voter contact, growing coalition members and building attendance for the Road to Majority Conference.
Marx recently launched a political consulting firm, Madison Strategies, and continues to work alongside FFC's chairman, Ralph Reed, as a senior advisor.
One of his dreams is that the Faith and Freedom Coalition be the single most effective conservative voter contact operation in American history. "My hope is that as a result of the FFC and its influence on history, there will be scores upon scores of conservative men and women of faith sitting in office and implementing public policy in a conservative manner that reflects the vision of the Founding Fathers."
Learn more at ffcoalition.com.
Raising A New Generation of Honorable Leaders
Thirty years strong, the Robertson School of Government (RSG) was launched to train students
with high expertise and principled character to influence the arena of public policy.
During the annual Clash of the Titans™ debate, Regent University's founder, chancellor and CEO, Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson, spoke of one of the school's legacies: "We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Robertson School of Government, 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." These values led Pat Robertson to a lifetime of public service—including a run for the U.S. presidency in 1987. They also motivated him to launch RSG.
"The number-one accomplishment of RSG is more than 1,000 alumni serving in all walks of life," says RSG Dean Eric Patterson. "The mission of the school is to train the next generation of leaders who desire to uphold Judeo-Christian principles that undergird our society. We emphasize three things in our mission statement: individual liberty, representative democracy and constitutional government."
Patterson notes that Christians have thought about these issues of leadership from St. Augustine to George Washington and beyond. "We are very intentional here at RSG about teaching our students how to deal with difficult questions of public policy from a Christian worldview," he says. "It's disingenuous for political opponents to say, 'You can't bring your Christian values into the marketplace of ideas, but we can bring our secular or humanist values.' Rather than get bitter, we encourage our students to understand Biblical principles and how to make a winsome argument in the public sphere based on a common morality."
The number-one accomplishment of RSG is more than 1,000 alumni serving in all walks of life...
Over the past 30 years, RSG alumni have put this training into practice, serving in
various levels of government and public administration.
Dr. Paul Bonicelli '87 (Government), now the executive vice president at Regent, received his master's degree in public policy. That opened the way for his presidential appointment as Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). He also served two terms as an official delegate to the United Nations General Assembly.
Hannah Bell '12 (Government) is also making a difference by helping young adults develop a holistic view of public service. She launched a leadership conference to train Christians to get involved in public life, integrating their faith into their vocation in every possible way.
"RSG professors gave real-life lessons and then connected that with God's purpose for my life in a culturally relevant manner," Bell recalls. "So many of my professors functioned as mentors. Once I was done with the program, they looked at me as a colleague. It's a unique and special way to approach education."
Patterson is quick to highlight the accomplishments of the RSG faculty: "Associate Professor Mary Manjikian was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and studied at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom. Dr. Jeffry Morrison was named the academic director of the federal government's James Madison Foundation in Washington, D.C. Our faculty also includes retired Admiral Vern Clark, former Chief of Naval Operations and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and also former Attorney General of the United States John Ashcroft."
The school's faculty is publishing books and peer-reviewed academic journal articles that demonstrate their roles as first-rate scholars and exemplary teachers.
As Patterson looks to the future, he is excited about the growth of the Master of Public Administration program. "There are 18 million government employees in the U.S., and almost all those people need further education to advance in their career," he explains. "We want to serve these people who work as public administrators at city hall, in county governments, and in the military from a Christian perspective."
Along with an emphasis on the American founding of government institutions, RSG has developed an equally strong international relations and foreign policy program. "Our faculty includes a retired admiral, along with scholars like Bonicelli, Manjikian, Dr. Popescu and myself, who have international security and foreign experience and interests," says Patterson. "This emphasis is very attractive to prospective students, and it ties into the university's calling to be a global entity."
"We're impacting the world," asserts Courtney Herron '09 (Government), who works in Washington, D.C. "Most of my job is making sure that people across America have a voice that is represented in the nation's capital. By studying at RSG you focus on the most critical components of government and how you can have the most impact."
As a resolute Patterson explains: "Every generation has needed strong, moral leaders. We are very intentional here at RSG to train Christian leaders in government to go out and change the world."
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. Also among the speakers are RSG associate dean, Dr. Mary Manjikian and RSG adjunct professor, Rear Admiral Larry Baucom (USN, Ret.).
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Reagan's Turning Point: A Time for Choosing
The year 1964 was a turning point when America began a long descent into cultural and moral decay. At this critical juncture in American history, Ronald Reagan stood to warn the nation with his famous speech, "A Time for Choosing," presented during the U.S. presidential election campaign on behalf of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater. In this landmark address Reagan called for an embrace of America's historic values of freedom, responsibility, faith and strong national defense.
The soaring rhetoric launched Reagan to national political prominence and helped set the tone for the conservative movement. To mark the 50th anniversary of this important event, Regent University's Robertson School of Government (RSG) hosted the 9th Annual Ronald Reagan Symposium, "A Time for Choosing," featuring a panel of experts in the fields of public policy, government and history.
"The reason the speech resonated then and the reason it resonates now is that we have a sense of having lost our way," noted City Journal contributing editor Claire Berlinksi.
King's College Associate Professor Joseph Loconte agreed: "For Reagan, the threat was always the encroaching arm of government. Things change, and they stay the same."
"The Reagan Symposium continues to be the premier academic event in the country, analyzing the impact of Ronald Reagan on American politics," says RSG dean, Dr. Eric Patterson. "We were proud to host internationally known public intellectuals like Amity Shlaes, Claire Berlinski and Joseph Loconte. This continues to demonstrate Regent's commitment to superior academic programming."
Panelist Stewart McLaurin, vice president of American Village Citizenship Trust and former executive director for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, has traveled to 6,900 high schools and more than 100 colleges to show young people the "Time for Choosing" speech. "In listening to the words of these students, I heard how this speech still resonates 50 years later," he said. "Reagan spoke his mind and his heart, and that's what resonated with young people then and today."
"Our freedom has never been so fragile," said Ryan T. Anderson, a Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness: These values have been challenged in the areas of rights to life, marriage and religion."
"Reagan saw that if you don't institutionally curb government, it will, by default and gravitational pull, create a greater and greater pull that just means the erosion of freedom," Loconte added.
"Americans are attracted to conviction politicians," noted Regent's executive vice president, Dr. Paul Bonicelli. "They are impressed by somebody who means what he says, has strong beliefs, and intends to implement them—a person who has sought and won the presidency in order to make a difference based on the values they hold dear. And that's what stands out about Reagan."
RSG 2014 Oxford Study Abroad Program
Regent 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.
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.
Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration Visits Regent
On February 26, RSG hosted the annual Student Forum of the Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration (HR-ASPA). The event promoted careers in public service and was attended by students and ASPA members from throughout Hampton Roads. The keynote speakers were Mr. Jim Oliver with over 40 years of local governmental leadership service and Mrs. Kate Meechan, Executive Director of Volunteer Hampton Roads. They gave inspiring accounts of the benefits and challenges of public service leadership. Their talks were followed by an informative panel session providing career management advice featuring the two main speakers, Regent Alumna Shannon Kendrick who serves as District Director for Congressman Scott Rigell, and RSG faculty members, Dr. Robert Dyer and Dr. Gary Roberts. RSG student Sherly Jourdain, HR-ASPA student representative, served as the master of ceremonies.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
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Ethics and Media in News Culture Conference
Friday, March 21 - Saturday, March 22, 2014
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RSG MPA National Advisory Board Visit
March 19-21, 2014