RSG Newsletter

April 2015
Regent University Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner

Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.Dear Friends,

Greetings from RSG! Two of our signature events occur within this month, the Ronald Reagan Symposium and our Ethics, Media, and Culture conference co-sponsored with Regent’s School of Communication and the Arts. Both events bring nationally-known speakers to campus to talk about issues of global significance.

KT McFarland (Fox News), Kiron Skinner (Hoover Institution, Carnegie-Mellon), author Craig Shirley, presidential speechwriter Aram Bakshian and others discussed U.S. democratization policy at the tenth annual Ronald Reagan Symposium. They described the challenges and opportunities faced by U.S. presidents in supporting and promoting democracy from Ronald Reagan through Barack Obama.

"First Freedoms and Terrorism" is the theme of the Ethics, Media, and Culture conference. The conference focuses on the intersection of ethics, reporting, and foreign policy with a focus on religious and individual liberty. Our speakers include Knox Thames of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and Clifford May from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

These events are broadcast by live stream and recorded (the Reagan Symposium by C-Span). They offer an opportunity for our students to engage with the critical issues facing our country and our world, forcing them to think critically as they prepare to enter the public sphere upon graduation. You’ll meet just such an alumna later in this newsletter, Kassie Dulin (’14) who is Director of Legal Communications for Liberty Institute, a national, non-profit legal organization.

Warm regards,

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

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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Ethics, Media & Culture Conference

April 10-11, 2015
The Founders Inn - Regent University Campus
View more information and register

Conference Theme: "First Freedoms and Terrorism"

One of the great challenges we face in this generation is to wage a War on Terror without losing our moral footing and democratic ideals. The heinous images delivered through the media of beheadings, hangings and torture of innocent men, women and children — all in the name of religion — remind us that religious freedom and democratic ideals come at great cost. Although we cannot shrink from the decisive use of force to defeat the enemies of freedom, our ability to bring a robust sense of ethical responsibility as media gatekeepers and policy makers could be one of democracy’s strongest weapons.


Faculty Story: Dr. James Slack - The Christian Public Servant

Dr. James Slack

Public servants work in government offices and nonprofit organizations across the globe to improve their cities and help people in need. Many of these mayors, city managers, educators and other public servants start their day with a dose of inspiration through "The Christian Public Servant," an email devotional published by Regent University’s Robertson School of Government (RSG). Since its first devotional went out on November 5, 2012, the recipient list has grown to more than 10,000 people on six continents.

Professor James D. Slack developed the idea soon after joining Regent’s faculty in fall 2012. He knew from personal interactions that public servants needed words of encouragement to begin their day. He put out a call for devotionals and began collecting publicly registered names and emails of government and nonprofit websites. For the past three years, the readership has steadily grown.

"The devotionals are no more than one page, and they are designed to be short enough to be read at a stoplight," Slack explains. The brief inspirational emails are sent out at approximately 5 a.m. each morning. Last year, 98 volunteer authors — including Regent students, faculty and staff, as well as public service employees around the world — contributed devotionals. Volunteers are always needed.

Many people especially look forward to receiving the devotional on Fridays when Jimmy Davis Jr. writes. Davis is an inmate on death row in Alabama. Slack met him through Kairos Prison Ministry, and the two began exchanging letters. After reading some of the devotionals written by others, Davis wanted to try his hand. He quickly became a favorite among readers, even receiving "fan mail" from those touched by his words. Through the years, he and Slack have developed a very close bond.

"I consider Jimmy as one of my best friends," Slack explains. "He is just an amazing servant of God, without asking for anything. He doesn’t talk about what he did. Kairos Ministry doesn’t ask that question. Our motto is ‘listen, listen, love, love.’ We bring the love of Christ to people."

Slack often receives notes from recipients of the devotional thanking him and the authors for their messages. It not only provides a boost of encouragement to the writers, but also allows him the opportunity to promote Regent students to public officials who could become their future employers. Additionally, it allows students to build a network of professional contacts.

"When someone writes a ‘thank you’ for a devotional written by one of our students, I make it a point to mention that the particular author is one of our excellent students and should be considered when agency positions open up," he notes. "It is helping both faculty and students build relationships with public servants around the world. God is using all aspects of this devotional ministry."

Since the devotional is sent to publicly registered email addresses, Slack has encountered a few people who question receiving the unsolicited emails. Slack explains that the emails adhere to all the conditions set forth by the country’s federal "spam" law—though as a religious organization, Regent is exempt from these requirements. Readers can unsubscribe at any time, but Slack has found people are more likely to forward the email to friends.

A selection of the devotionals was recently published as a book, Devotions for the Christian Public Servant (Emeth Press), available on Slack plans to publish a similar collection annually. He is donating book royalties to RSG student scholarships and other RSG endeavors.

If you are interested in receiving or contributing to The Christian Public Servant, please contact Dr. Slack at

Student Story: Cynthia Swift - Healthcare, Law & Government

Cynthia Swift

Five years ago Cynthia Swift was registered nurse working in a neonatal intensive care unit. She little imagined that today she would be pursuing graduate education at Regent University.

However, during a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic, Swift became aware of her passion for the intersection of healthcare, law, and government and decided to further her education.

"I was inspired by Regent’s vision to develop ‘Christian leaders to change the world’," reflects Dulin. “I knew that by attending Regent, I would receive a high-quality education grounded in a biblical worldview, which would equip me to present and defend Christian values effectively. And that is exactly what happened."

Today, Swift is a joint-degree candidate for a Master of Arts in Government and Juris Doctor (Law) at the Robertson School of Government and School of Law at Regent University. With the historic overhaul of the U.S. health care system under the Affordable Care Act, Swift plans to work in a healthcare policy position or as a healthcare attorney. "I have a continual desire to learn. I am still drawn to the field of healthcare," says Swift.

Swift admits being a full-time joint-degree student is both challenging and rewarding. However, she has taken advantage of the many opportunities available to Regent University students outside of the classroom.

This semester Swift serves as a congressional intern for Congressman Scott Rigell (R-VA), a Regent alum himself. "Working for the Congressman has been a rewarding and eye-opening experience for me thus far. It is easy for us as constituents to sit back and criticize our elected officials based on how they vote and the issues they choose to champion. But, what we often fail to realize is that elected officials are called to speak for everyone in their district or state and they cannot please everyone all the time."

Swift also serves as president of The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies’ student chapter at Regent. "The Federalist Society offers students an opportunity to engage in dialogue with those holding a differing point of view to what they are receiving in the classrooms."

Recently, RSG and the Federalist Society sponsored a lunch time lecture to discuss ISIS and the authorization for the use of military force against terrorists. Guest speaker Charles "Cully" Stimson, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs was the speaker. "I hold high regard for the Federalist Society and what they are trying to accomplish across the country and I am honored to serve as president," says Swift.

Alumni Story: Kassie Dulin ('14) – Advocating for Liberty

Kassie Dulin ('14)

Kassin Dulin ('14) credits her grandparents, lifelong supporters of Regent University and Chancellor M.G. "Pat" Robertson, for directing her to Regent University. "My grandparents’ dream was to have one of their children or grandchildren graduate from Regent," says Dulin.

In May 2014, Dulin realized that dream by graduating from the Robertson School of Government with a Master of Arts in Government.

"I was inspired by Regent’s vision to develop Christian leaders to change the world," reflects Dulin. “I knew that by attending Regent, I would receive a high-quality education grounded in a biblical worldview, which would equip me to present and defend Christian values effectively. And that is exactly what happened."

A native of Dallas, Texas, Dulin completed her degree online while continuing to work full-time. "Regent’s online education model provided an unparalleled combination of flexibility, customization, self-pacing, and high-quality instruction. I wanted to pursue my Masters, but I didn’t want to leave Dallas or quit my job to do it. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of solid Christian universities in my area that offer a degree in my field, so I wasn’t sure how I would be able to get the education I wanted."

Although an online student, Dulin spent her last semester “on campus” participating in the annual RSG Oxford Study Abroad Program in Oxford, England. "My favorite experience during my time at Regent was spending time studying abroad in Oxford, England," says Dulin. "After two years of online learning it was great to interact with my fellow students face to face, even participating in moot courts with the Regent Law students. And of course, the educational value was fantastic! I will always cherish the friendships I built and the memories I made on our Oxford adventure."

Today, Dulin serves as Director of Legal Communications at Liberty Institute, the largest non-profit legal firm in the nation solely dedicated to defending religious liberty in America. She also serves as the national director for Vote Under God, a program encouraging Christians to vote.

Dulin says her goal is to be a voice for truth in her generation to promote faith, family, and freedom in America today. "As the world gets darker, there is an even greater need for Christians to stand up for biblical values and be a light to the world," says Dulin

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Recent Events

Encouraging Students to Lead Like Reagan

Dr. Henry Nau, professor at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, worked with President Ronald Reagan as a senior staff member on his national security council. He was one of seven speakers who brought life to President Reagan's legacy Friday at Regent University's Ronald Reagan Symposium. Looking back at Reagan's words in a 1982 speech to British Parliament, the panelists provided a voice to Reagan's beliefs, that global freedom is the answer to preserving peace and pushing past problems.

"From the day I met him, I knew, it was about the policies that he was implementing," said Nau. "It wasn't about him. He decided over a long period of time what policies he wanted to pursue, and he implemented those policies. He was going to let them work, and eventually they did work, and he was happy to let history pass its judgment."

Dr. Eric Patterson

"When it was delivered, Americans, in particular, in the media and also in the academy, made light of it," said Dr. Jeffry Morrison, professor in the Robertson School of Government (RSG). "In fact, there was some gentle mocking of it. The president was seen as naive; he was seen as a light-weight in foreign policy. Less than ten years later, his prediction that the Soviet Union would end up, as he said, ‘on the ash heap of history’ came true, and the pundits and the professors were both shown to be wrong about Reagan's grasp of current events and the near future. We thought that would make an appropriate and relevant theme for this year's symposium."

This year's symposium is the 10th time that experts on Reagan and those who worked with the man personally gathered at Regent. It all started when Dr. Robertson challenged deans to start a spring symposium to complement Clash of the Titans. The now-annual Reagan Symposium inspires its guests and RSG students to take on today's world with what are said to be Reagan's proven principles.

K.T. McFarland

"He unleashed the creative American spirit," said KT McFarland, Fox News national security analyst. "Not only did we believe in ourselves again, but the world believed in us. What Reagan was able to usher in during an eight-year presidency was a generation of peace and prosperity, not just for us, but for the whole world, an era of democracy in the whole world. I challenge any young person: turn on the evening news tonight and watch your political leaders. Turn off the evening news, go to your computer, and pull up on YouTube an old Ronald Reagan speech. That's all you've got to do. Once you hear Ronald Reagan, you realize that's what a leader is really supposed to be like."

"I'm a glass half-full kind of lady as well, so a lot of what KT McFarland was saying resonated with me," said Sara Garth '16 (RSG). "I was challenged to think carefully about what is wrong today and how to actively change our policies, our initiatives and our leaders, and the people who are running our government."

"People around the whole world looked at what we had and thought they wanted to be like America," said McFarland. "I think we are at one of those moments again today. We have all of the ingredients. We have the economic prospects of cheap energy and innovative technologies. We have the ability militarily to be strong but not to use our military, to encourage our allies to fight their own fights, but finally, you go around the country, and Americans want to believe in themselves again. We know we have a terrific system, but we've been told by every American intellectual elite leader that it's over. That America was a once-great nation, and we're on decline. We're not. We just need some people who believe in us, so we can vote for who can convince us that we are who we are."

Hon. Aram Bakshian Jr.

Mr. Craig Shirley

Dr. Eric Patterson and Katherine Nace (essay contest winner).

Dr. Eric Patterson, Chris Mateer and Spencer Russell (essay contest winners).



RSG Book Corner

"Military Chaplains in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Beyond"


Research shows that military chaplains are essential to the well-being of those serving in the armed forces. Research is also revealing though that the occupation has moved from being one of the healthiest to one of the unhealthiest.

"The workload is tremendous," said Dr. Gary Roberts, professor in the Robertson School of Government (RSG). "Some of them have 1,500 officers, men and their families to whom they're providing service. You see in any care-giving occupation, when you have such a large flock, it just creates role conflict, because you really just can't invest the time that you would like, and it exacerbates your own self-care problems and issues."

Roberts provided his perspective on this and spiritual intelligence as he contributed to a new book released this past summer by Dr. Eric Patterson, the school's dean. Military Chaplains in Iraq, Afghanistan and Beyond: Religious Advisement and Religious Leader Engagement (Rowman & Littlefield) explores what clergy in the military do beyond pastoral service. More than a dozen experts contributed to the book. Its 11 chapters span topics ranging from the chaplaincy and the War on Terror and strategic engagement to peace building, character development and occupational stress for those working as chaplains.

Dr. Mark Jumper, Dr. Gary Roberts, Dr. Eric Patterson and Rev. Eric Wester.

"It's very important because military chaplains are sent to do a job, and there are things asked of them that they're not trained for," said Patterson. "That can put them in a very dangerous environment. It can put them in an environment where they make a mistake because they're not prepared, and that can have strategic consequences."

Some of those who contributed to the book visited Regent University to present their stories and findings at the book launch. More than one speaker emphasized the role of faith in the armed forces strengthening soldiers and building pathways to peace.

"I served as a career army chaplain," said the Rev. Eric Wester, director of Federal Chaplaincies in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. "I'm an ordained Lutheran minister. Part of my ministry was serving in the reserve and guard, and about 20 years of that was active duty as a chaplain. Late in my career, I got very interested in the role of spirituality as it connects with ethical decision-making and the personal resilience of soldiers."

Wester says chaplains not only advise commanders about the faith make-up of their command but also provide insight on the external religious environment.

"There's some historical content and documentation here that, without this book, is not going to be readily available outside of file cabinets on some obscure military base," said Patterson.

He says these stories add value to history, providing an account of chaplains engaging Muslim religious leaders to peacemaking talks during the height of conflict in Iraq.

"Part of this book is trying to report what worked and to try to forecast about what can work in the future so we are not caught off guard without the right skills and knowledge in the field," said Patterson. "It's a book not just for a narrow segment of chaplains, but some of the stories in there are just so compelling that the average reader who is interested in the wars of the past ten years, the person who likes military history and those kinds of things, they're going to find those chapters to be very interesting."



Upcoming Events

Ethics, Media & Culture Conference: "First Freedoms and Terrorism"
Friday, April 10 - Saturday, April 11, 2015
Regent University
View more information and register

RSG Book Discussion: Building A Path to Servant Leadership thru Faith with Dr. Gary Roberts
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

RSG Commissioning Ceremony
Friday, May 8, 2015
View more information and register

Regent University Commencement
Saturday, May 9, 2015
View more information and register

Armed Forces Day Military Concert
Saturday, May 16, 2015
View more information and register

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