Regent University Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner
You are invited to join alumni and friends for the official celebration of the Robertson School of Government's 30th anniversary, October 25-26. In just a few short weeks, alumni and friends of RSG will descend to campus to honor recently retired Professor Emeritus Philip Bom, listen to Newt Gingrich, David Axelrod, and others at Clash of the Titans, and reconnect with friends and faculty.
You can sign up for everything from Clash to the family picnic at: regentalumni.org/rsg30. You can also connect with friends via Facebook at: Regent University School of Government.
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For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Professor Emeritus Philip C. Bom spent thirty years serving the Robertson School of Government. Below are reflections about the history of the school and his time at Regent.
Since its inception, "Christian Leadership to Change the World" has been the vision of Regent University and the Robertson School of Government. The School has remained true to its mission, even though curriculum and context have changed over its first thirty years.
In 1983 our School was founded as a school of "public policy" when there were few graduate schools of public policy. The founding coincided with the rise of the Reagan - Thatcher Revolution, the Evangelical Renewal, and its renewed call for political involvement. It was a joy to work with enthusiastic students who were eager to rediscover the Biblical roots of American civilization and who were committed to public service.
The School created a distinctive approach embracing a three-fold integral mission. It emphasized the integration of faith and learning, applying a Judeo-Christian worldview in all courses. From the beginning, the School had an international mission, consistent with Regent's vision of "Christian Leadership to Change the World." In many respects, RSG was forward-thinking in policy matters. Interdisciplinary core courses such as law, political economics, science, history and government were offered. The faculty dealt with topics such as the environment, energy, trade, and technology long before these issues became policy priorities in government.
In the 1990s, a new name was instituted, The Robertson School of Government, indicating more clearly that the focus was broadening from policy analysis to public service. The new name captured the emphasis of both the institution of government and functional policy issues. Some Americans tend to have extreme views of government: either as a necessary evil (conservative libertarians) or, as an unlimited tool to redistribute the wealth (liberal democrats). In contrast, at RSG we believe a Christian perspective provides a balanced approach to government. The structural norm for government is to provide good order, especially to restrain evil, disorder, and corruption (Proverbs 21:21; Micah 6:8; Romans 13:4-6). A Christian perspective of a constitutional government promotes justice, democratic republics, fundamental freedoms and human rights as well as a free and responsible economy and society.
Regent is known as an international, rather than a mere American university. Among our alumni are elected leaders from Zambia to the Bahamas. RSG's mission is to harmonize both national and international policies with our Judeo-Christian principles of righteousness, justice, and international peace. The mission is not to make students "think globally, act locally," but to operate from a Christian worldview within a global context.
Over the years, the international concentration offerings have remained strong. In 1993, well before 9/11, the faculty approved courses on the Middle East and Islamic Fundamentalism. Course offerings on this critical region and Islamic political ideology expanded over the years, including a course on Quranic Law. That same year, the faculty approved the course International Human Rights before it became a priority in governments' foreign policies. Since 9/11, the curriculum has expanded to include courses on homeland security and global terrorism.
After 30 years, I am thankful that the course Christian Foundations of Government remains a core and required course for all RSG students. This course, in which students read Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Bonhoeffer, Niebuhr, Colson and others, is the cornerstone. It is my hope that the core principles of this class will continue to permeate the entire curriculum.
For me personally, the years at Regent University have been an unbelievable blessing! There are countless wonderful memories of professional and personal interactions with students. I have always experienced the annual Commissioning Services as a spiritual and academic highlight. In the past, the school would provide each graduate with a plaque inscribed with the wisdom words from Isaiah 11 (..."with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions..."). To this day, the faculty still prays with each graduate at the annual Commissioning Service.
Today Regent University as well as other institutions of higher learning are facing profound challenges such as the rapid advancement of technology and the cost of delivering a quality education. Yet, it is my belief that any school that truly prepares Christian leaders to change the world will always attract and retain quality students.
Running for public office in her hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was the last thing RSG student Deanna Alexander set out to do, but that is exactly what she did. The mother of two won - earning 55% of the vote and was elected as a full-time, paid official on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, representing 53,000+ people.
Prior to being elected, Alexander found herself frustrated with her career as an accountant. "While working, mothering and going to school online, it dawned on me that I had no clue what my next step would be, or even which potential next steps would make sense..." says Alexander. But she knew she wanted to make a difference.
Taking advantage of her relationship with the RSG faculty, Alexander sought the counsel of an RSG professor regarding her career options. "His advice to me was sound. He recommended that I take stock of my God-given gifts, as well as my faults, and assess what types of purposes God might be able to use a person like me for service," says Alexander.
Alexander reflects that just two weeks later she attended her first Neighborhood Watch meeting where an announcement was made that a local elected official would not be seeking reelection, creating an opening on the Milwaukee County Board. Alexander says, "That was my 'aha!' moment." When she told her husband about her desire to possibly run for public office, he said "You are crazy," but as they both thought more about it, she realized, "This is exactly what I want to do."
As a working professional, wife, and mother, Alexander enrolled at RSG as an online student and found the experience perfect for her lifestyle. "Because I have young children to take care of and I am the breadwinner in my family, I would not have been able to attend Regent if it were not for the online courses. I love that I can complete work at any time of day or night, and that Regent is a REAL brick and mortar university with a credible reputation, not some fly-by-night online degree program."
Impressed with the unique combination of faith and learning at RSG, Alexander says, "RSG sets a high bar for performance expectations, but not an unrealistic bar for status or title expectations. I've met instructors and students from many different Christian denominations, different geographic locations, and with different political views, and it is refreshing that we all make progress learning together."
Inspired by political figures such as George Washington, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, Alexander hopes to change the status quo for her constituents. "I have taken a lot of the principles learned at RSG and incorporated them into the way that I present myself to the public when campaigning and when representing the public in office," says Alexander.
However, being an elected public official has not been without challenges for Alexander. For example, as a member of the Finance, Personnel and Audit Committee, Alexander ruffled feathers when she voted against a simple budget provision that would result in raised taxes, something she had promised her voters she would oppose. "I have stood up for the taxpayer, I have notably demonstrated putting aside my personal interests for the public's interests, and I have been responsive to the constituent," she says.
Fast forward a year and half into office—Alexander recently found herself giving a keynote address on the future of conservatism at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in St. Louis. "Two years ago I was a girl trying to find my life compass, and now I've been refined a bit in a political fire and invited to speak on a national platform to deliver something relevant for such seasoned masses," Alexander reflects. "At RSG, we learn about being servants first, whether ministering in the desert or writing policy in the statehouse. If someone is game for the steep learning curve, I highly recommend running for public office."
When Gary Marx began working for the Christian Coalition in 1997, little did he know that would be the beginning of his relationship with Regent. A graduate of James Madison University, Marx came into contact with Robertson School of Government graduates during his time with the Coalition and was impressed. He began to see how his grass-roots experiences and a degree from Regent could really go "hand-in-glove" with where he felt God was calling him in the future. Gary was accepted to RSG where he spent the next two years immersing himself in the Regent culture. It was his time in the classroom that allowed him to take what he was learning back into the field and use it in real world scenarios.
Like all Regent students, some experiences stood out more than others and it was Marx's time as a Beasley scholar that gave him an unexpected encounter. That scholarship allowed him to have lunch with Chancellor Robertson, which he notes as a "special moment" where he was able to "pick the Chancellor's brain."
That moment, the time he spent being sharpened in the classroom, along with constant dialogue among fellow students helped to hone the gifts and talents Marx had been given.
"There was always an ongoing process of how to take the principles I was learning in a real world way and I would ask myself, 'How do I apply them to what I'm doing right now?'" The concept that the Golden Rule and Proverbs apply to everything in life and have a fundamental application was confirmed during his time at Regent.
Joining the Faith and Freedom Coalition (FFC) in 2011 as the Executive Director, Gary 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 up attendance for the Road to Majority Conference.
One of his dreams is that the Faith and Freedom Coalition be the, "single most effective conservative voter contact operation in American history." His 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."
As a leader, Gary constantly asks himself, "How do I apply the Golden Rule in everything I do as both a leader and a follower?"
"As a leader you need to be proactively communicating the truth versus sitting back," he explains. "You must be proactive about the world around you. You also must be a good listener. All people want to be listened to and leaders have to remember to listen more than talk."
For those who are interested in the field of politics, Marx gives this advice: "Don't regret interning or volunteering in the political realm, even for no money. You can't underestimate how important that is." He encourages those with political aspirations to continue to go to seminars and training events and to keep learning.
RSG's 30th Anniversary Celebration Continues with Inaugural Lecture
As part of this year's activities celebrating the 30th anniversary of Regent University's Robertson School of Government (RSG), the inaugural A. Willis Robertson lecture was held Tuesday, Sept. 10. With a focus on Virginia government and political issues, the new lecture honors the school's namesake, Senator A. Willis Robertson, father of Regent's founder and chancellor, Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson.
"This lecture is about the legacy of a family dedicated to public service," said RSG dean, Dr. Eric Patterson, as he opened the event. Senator Robertson was a national figure who spent a half-century serving his country, first as an Army officer in World War I and later spending four decades representing Virginia as an elected official.
The featured guest speaker was Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech. The self-proclaimed "Secretary of Fun" has a job that would have been near and dear to Senator Robertson's heart as a national leader in conservation efforts. Domenech presides over Virginia's state parks and trails, including hunting and fishing regulations.
He began his remarks describing the early days of discovery in Virginia and the natural resource crisis that Robertson faced head on at the dawn of the 20th century. "It was a matter of taking too much without understanding the consequences and having little restraint," he explained. "Americans weren't thinking about conserving resources, they were celebrating their good fortune."
And with few standards in place for hunting, fishing and development in those days, many national wildlife populations such as bison, antelope and beaver took a deep plunge in numbers and never recovered.
But Robertson, an all-American sportsman himself, saw the hammer as it fell and worked for 30 years to set legislation that would help support wildlife in America. That piece of legislature would eventually be called the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid to Wildlife Act, established in 1937.
It was essentially the first active "user pay, user benefit" law in which taxes from hunting rifles and ammunition, as well as hunting and fishing licenses, were re-invested into state efforts to protect wildlife habitats and populations. To date, $6.4 billion has been invested since 1937.
"This act secured the future of our nation's wildlife," Domenech said. "Robertson left behind a legacy of conservation for this country's vast natural resources."
"Government has the capacity to do great good if the right people are willing to step forward and serve," Domenech said. "Our ideas can win the battle, but we have to be in the fight."
Domenech is on the State Cabinet and manages six state agencies that oversee parks and outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing, and historic resources including Civil War battlefields and the Virginia Museum of Natural History. He is also known as "The Green Guy," managing the state's environmental air and water quality, as well as the state's energy portfolio, and he also maintains relationships with the state's Native American tribes.
Constitution Day Focuses on Contemporary Application
As part of Regent University's celebration of Constitution Day this month, terrorism and security expert Amos Guiora visited campus for a discussion of the constitutional implications of domestic terrorism on Monday, Sept. 23.
Hosted by the Robertson School of Government (RSG), the event also featured responses by two Regent professors, Dr. Mary Manjikian (RSG) and Tessa Dysart (Law). Guiora is an Israeli-American professor of law and co-director of the Center for Global Justice at The S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah.
Guiora based his remarks off a book chapter he's written called "Boston to Where?"
"The Boston Marathon bombing was a critical moment in terrorism that reflected a paradigm shift," Guiora said. "It suggests a very complicated confluence of international and domestic terrorism that I call global-local terrorism, and it was the first time this kind of terrorism came to America."
Guiora's definition of global-local terrorism involves acts of terrorism carried out by immigrants who live and function among Americans. It's not like the Unabomber or Timothy McVeigh-type terror of the 90s. It's not like the 9/11 attackers who came to the United States with a single, fatal goal. It's immigrants, sometimes citizens, being radicalized religiously and incited to terrorism.
"The idea of an immigrant living among us but not really being 'of' us raises questions about the idea of 'otherness,'" Guiora said. "Often, the first generation in an immigrant family works hard to make a better life for themselves. They try to create the American dream for their children, but then the second generation of immigrants becomes radicalized."
This was the case for the brothers who bombed the Boston marathon, Guiora explained. "Here's where the rubber meets the road in the context of the First Amendment: If we know someone is being radicalized in a house of worship, can we limit what those leaders can say?"
"The day has come for us to examine whether houses of worship can be monitored and surveilled by law enforcement," Guiora said. "For me, I can say unequivocally, yes."
But he also admitted that this kind of preventative solution does not come without consequence. "This should make us all very uncomfortable," he said. "Global-local terrorism raises critical points about basic American rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association.
"The thought that there are more like the Boston bombers out there is more dangerous to the fabric of American life than the 9/11 bombers, but there's also a danger of pointing to people who are just not like you," he explained. "It's complicated because it entails law enforcement having to examine American citizens, but to ignore a threat that is obviously here is to endanger the lives of innocent citizens."
At the end of Guiora's remarks, Dr. Manjikian took the podium to express her concern that his view on global-local terrorism threatens constitutionally protected individual rights.
"I worry about a society in which some American citizens don't have the same rights as others based on their ethnicity," she said. "I would hope that we can behave in a way that shows terrorists they can't win here."
Dysart then explained why she felt the paradigm shift in terrorism came at 9/11. "The Supreme Court has been less concerned with individual rights of citizens since that time," she said. "There's not a clearly defined enemy here. We have to consider the rights of the accused as well as the rights of others."
Her secondary concern was spillover that would ultimately limit all people groups in one way or another. "What kind of precedents are we setting that will one day have ripple effects in our society and limit what Christians and churches will be able to do as well?"
Guiora offered closing remarks acknowledging the difficulty of the issue at hand. "We need to have this conversation because how and where we draw the balance is the single most important and most dangerous question to both sides," he said.
Regent's Constitution Day celebration began on Sept. 17 with a film festival showing movies and educational films that deal with constitutional topics.
"The content of the educational films ranged from the origins and impact of the constitution, to modern day constitutional issues like tax-exempt status for religious institutions," said Jason Stewart, the reference librarian who organized the event. "The popular films each focused on one of the 'Justice Amendments' and were accompanied by discussion questions to facilitate deeper engagement with the concepts."
Former CNO Meets USS George H.W. Bush's CPOs
As a military-friendly school, Regent University nurtures a strong connection with active duty members of the armed forces, veterans and military families. The university recently hosted a group of newly promoted Chief Petty Officers from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush as part of a VIP event on the 12th anniversary of 9/11.
Admiral Vern Clark, U.S. Navy (Ret.), former Chief of Naval Operations, met with the group, which also included regional business leaders and members of Regent's Board of Trustees. Clark focused his remarks toward the military attendees, explaining to the Navy's newest Chief Petty Officers his understanding of "covenant leadership." Clark told the sailors, "Leadership is the key to every human endeavor."
"Admiral Clark's speech was very personal and informative," said Chief Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Brandi Heath. "His experience and perspective helped me understand new ways to apply leadership to the deckplates and how that has a positive effect on our retention."
Clark also highlighted, for those unfamiliar with the military, the vital role of a Chief Petty Officer and how selection to this rank is one of the most prominent achievements in all of the military.
"We were honored to host these emerging military leaders to meet and learn from our distinguished professor of government & leadership, Admiral Vern Clark, who regularly meets with our military and student veterans to talk about leadership and policy issues," said David Boisselle, Regent's director of military & veterans affairs. "Regent is proud to be able to offer outstanding faculty to our regional partners and friends like the USS George H. W. Bush."
Regent University Executive Leadership Series
Founders Inn & Spa
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Jobs in the Federal Government Program
Monday, October 21 from 12:00-1:00pm, RH 116
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Robertson School of Government - 30th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, October 25 - Saturday, October 26, 2013
Regent University Campus - Robertson Hall
For more information and registration: regentalumni.org/rsg30
Clash of the Titans
Friday, October 25, 2013
Regent University Campus
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