Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner
A new semester has started, so allow me to wish you Happy New Year on behalf of all of us at the Robertson School of Government. I was in Washington for an inaugural ball a few days ago and I was amazed at the enthusiasm of multitudes of average Americans who had taken time off of work in order to celebrate dramatic change in Washington, DC. In contrast to the media’s fascination with protestors, I think that we saw many examples of graciousness during the inaugural festivities, such as President Trump’s kind recognition of Secretary Clinton at the Congressional Inaugural luncheon, the respectful attendance of the Clintons and Carters at the inauguration (which does not always happen), the friendly banter between the new president and Congresswoman Pelosi, and the like. We could use a lot more civility in Washington, from leaders as well as the electorate.
Our “Defense Against the Dark Arts” ethics series featured former Family Research Council vice-president (now Regent professor) Rob Schwarzwalder talking about how a Christian worldview provides answers to the challenges one faces when serving in Washington, DC. We believe that our emphasis on civility, morality, and ethics is a critical distinctive of our programs and our graduates.
In this edition of our newsletter you will also hear about Associate Dean Mary Manjikian’s training experience in Paris and the upcoming Russia trip for students and alumni, about student and military veteran Rebekah Lloyd’s presentations in California at the Student Veterans Alliance annual conference, and about my participation at the International Society for Military Ethics’ annual meeting in Washington DC.
We are enthusiastic about the fact that our programs continue to grow and that we serve an enthusiastic, smart student body that is maturing into skilled, wise Christian leaders with a desire to change the world.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
Robertson School of Government
Watch the "Get to Know RSG" video.
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Dr. Mary Manjikian had a chance this month to visit Paris, France as part of an EF (Education First) Faculty Training Program for professors who will lead students on study tours this summer. She notes, "We spent two days being tourists in Paris, and one day receiving specific training on scenarios like crisis management, insurance and logistics. But even the tourism was important -- It gave us a sense of the rigorous and exhausting days our students will have when they visit Russia this summer. We were busy touring from early morning until late at night, walking an average of 7 or 8 miles a day as we toured Versailles, the Louvre and Notre Dame."
Dr. Manjikian also enjoyed meeting faculty from diverse institutions around the country and was inspired by the ways in which travel had changed their students' lives. Students wishing to learn more about the upcoming Student Trip to Russia, scheduled for May 18-27, are urged to contact Mary Manjikian at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who enroll in the one-credit course and sign up for the trip will receive a two hundred dollar discount, provided they enroll prior to February 1.
Jonathan Monroe is pursuing a Master’s in Government with a concentration in American Government. Before coming to Regent University, Jonathan Monroe earned a bachelor’s degree from Patrick Henry College and held an internship with the Family Research Council in Washington, DC.
As a student, he has been overwhelmed with the exceptional quality of the faculty and staff of RSG. He said, “RSG’s faculty is set apart from other schools. The application of a Christian worldview to the study of government is what truly distinguishes it from other programs.” Jonathan plans to work in public policy in D.C. either as an analyst for a think tank or as a Congressional staffer on Capitol Hill. His ultimate desire is to run for public office. He is confident that his education from Regent University is preparing him to achieve his goals in life.
Jonathan has already been given several great opportunities. He worked as an intern with Generation Joshua and the Family Research Council. Then he worked for the Law School Admissions department at Regent University School of Law. He was recently offered and accepted a position to assist Distinguished Professor Bob McDonnell, past governor of Virginia, in his work at Regent University. Overall, Jonathan has been overwhelmed with the opportunities that have come his way. He is excited to graduate and move forward with his career. He plans on moving back home to Northern Virginia to pursue his dreams of running for office and being a “Christian leader who can change the world.”
Professor Schwarzwalder’s Defense Against the Dark Arts
Regent senior lecturer Rob Schwarzwalder is no stranger to the “dark arts” of Washington, DC. He has served on Capitol Hill, for a major lobbying organization, and later as vice-president of a faith-based non-profit organization. During his quarter-century of Washington service he had many opportunities to witness first-hand the protection that a strong ethical stance entails, and the pitfalls of making compromising choices.
Mr. Schwarzwalder’s talk was part of the Robertson School’s semi-annual “Defense Against the Dark Arts” series. These off-the-record talks are frank conversations about the ethical challenges of public service. Previous speakers have included Judge Patricia West, past chief deputy attorney general of Virginia, and Brigadier General Richard F. Abel (USAF, ret.).
Mr. Schwarzwalder’s talk covered a great deal of historical and literary ground, from Madison and Hamilton (Federalist 51 and 30) to G.K. Chesterton, David Wells, and Carl Henry. But he emphasized again and again the role that a Christian worldview, focused on virtue and honesty, has in public service.
Students and participants were left with four aspirational yet practical pieces of advice. The first two had to do with character and courage. Schwarzwalder cited British Lord John Moulton’s emphasis that moral living for free citizens was “the domain of obedience to the unenforceable:” doing what was right by personal choice rather than by coercion. Schwarzwalder also reminded the audience to focus on eternal rewards rather than on short term gains. This is a recipe both for long-term professional success as well as inner wholeness. Finally, he reiterated pragmatic counsel to not only have a working knowledge of the ethics regulations of one’s work environment but to seek advice whenever there is the slightest question.
Before coming to Regent in 2016, Mr. Schwarzwalder served as chief of staff to two Members of Congress, a communications and media aide to a U.S. senator, and senior speechwriter for the Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For several years, he was Director of Communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. While on Capitol Hill, he served on the staffs of members of both Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Senate Committee with oversight of federal healthcare policy. His last position before coming to Regent University was as Senior Vice-President at the Family Research Council. His op-eds have been published in numerous national publications, ranging from TIME and U.S. News and World Report to Christianity Today, The Federalist, and The Public Discourse, as well as scores of newspapers and opinion journals.
Rebekah Lloyd attends Student Veterans of American National Conference
Army veteran, and MPA candidate, Rebekah Lloyd spoke to the national conference of the Student Veterans of America (SVA) in Anaheim, California January 5-7, 2017. Her journey with the SVA began in November 2015 when she was accepted into the National Legislative Fellowship Program sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and SVA. It was during this fellowship that Rebekah felt a divine calling to be an advocate for military veterans. Upon returning home from the residential portion of the fellowship in Washington, D.C., she applied and was accepted to the Robertson School of Government for a Master of Public Administration and to the School of Law for a Master of Arts in Law. Rebekah joins thousands of Regent students with a direct tie to the U.S. military.
Rebekah was selected to speak on two panels at this year’s national conference. The first panel, “Women Veterans: Taking the Lead”, was one of five that the SVA offered this year in response to the increasing population of women veterans. While women veterans represent less than ten percent of the overall veteran population, they represent nearly a quarter of the college student veteran population. One of the questions posed to Rebekah was how to encourage other female veterans to mature into leadership roles. She responded, “We have earned our seats at the table. It is up to us to take that seat.” This response was overwhelmingly received by the audience. The second panel was “Public Policy as a Career” and she spoke about her experience as a fellow with the VFW and SVA.
The SVA is a nonprofit organization that focuses specifically on providing resources, support, and advocacy for veterans to succeed in higher education. Their national staff meets with leaders in Congress, the White House and federal agencies to discuss the issues facing veterans as they return to college following their service. The SVA also partners with corporations and organizations to assist veterans in their transition post-graduation. Chapters at the local level are student organizations that focus specifically on the needs of the student Veterans on their campuses. The Regent University Chapter of the SVA serves the student veteran community by assisting them in their own transition to higher education and encourages the development of Christian leadership in the process.
Rebekah says, “My experience with the Student Veterans of America at both the national and local level has been one of growth and learning. I am humbled by the support and encouragement that Regent University, the Robertson School of Government, and the Military Resource Center has provided me. It was truly an honor to speak on behalf of my fellow women veterans and before fellow advocates. I look forward to what God has in store for me and pray I continue to fulfill the plan and purpose He has for me.”
Up to Us Event
On December 9, the Regent University Up to Us team completed its final assignment, a “Wildcard” event, as part of the annual competition. Regent’s team was third runner up out of forty-four universities in 2015. Up to Us is a non-partisan effort sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative to raise student awareness of the national debt. America’s massive $18 trillion debt is a time bomb causing uncertainty for the future of the Millennial generation.
The Wildcard event was held in the Student Center lobby, hosting a table with plenty of snacks, sweets, and sodas for students so they could recharge during the busy finals week. The Wildcard event was intended to be a smaller, more personalized event or series of events for students to learn more about the National Debt and come up with common sense solutions for the problem. Any student who came to pick up some food or beverages would see a National Debt clock running on the corner of the table with bookmarks that provided information on the National Debt.
Conversations were held with the students and staff who came by on how we as a nation could counter the chronic overspending and waste seen in today's government. Dean Eric Patterson said, “The national debt is an issue for everyone: previous generations have dumped an unfunded mandate on their children and grandchildren. Someone is going to have to pay for the debts of our elders. This is not popular to say to the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers, but action must be taken or they will have shackled any hope for an ‘American dream’ for their own grandchildren. The first step for Millennials is just understanding what the national debt is and what can be done.”
A. Willis Robertson Lecture by Governor George Allen – January 31, 2017
Dinner with General John Ashcroft – February 1, 2017
The Tragedy of Declining Religious Liberty: The State of International Religious Freedom and What the U.S. Can Do About It with Thomas F. Farr – February 6, 2017
Executive Leadership Series with Carly Fiorina – February 28, 2017