RSG Newsletter

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

View RSG e-Prospectus

Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.Dear Friends,

August is here and another academic year is about to begin. RSG had a great summer, from the May graduation of our largest class in history (including RSG's 1,000th student), to our study abroad program in Oxford (UK), to the research and travel of faculty and students. We feature many of those experiences in this edition of the newsletter.

The August newsletter also features examples of why Regent University is rated one of the top "military friendly," and more generally government-friendly, universities. Regent works very hard to accommodate the busy operational tempo of those serving in and out of uniform, including deployments, particularly through our superior online programming. You'll meet retired Navy Petty Officer Chad McQueen, Canadian Ministry of Defense (civilian) employee Tom Kmiec, and Katie Hunt, campaign field director for Governor Rick Scott (Florida).

One thing that makes RSG's online courses different from other institutions is that our tenure-track, Ph.D.-holding faculty typically teach both the on-campus and online sections of a given course. In other words, all students receive first-rate instruction from world-class professionals, preparing them for the next stage in their career living out the university motto: Christian Leadership to Change the World.

Warm regards,

Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean, 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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Faculty Story: Sam Gaston - Practitioner-in-Residence

Professor Sam Gaston

Professor Sam Gaston

Regent University's Robertson School of Government recently welcomed Sam Gaston, city manager of Mountain Brook, Ala., as a new faculty member for the school's Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. Gaston will be a practitioner-in-residence/online—the nation's first MPA program practitioner-in-residence position dedicated to online teaching, scholarship and student career guidance.

Gaston has been city manager of Mountain Brook for 21 years. He is past president of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and formerly served as an adjunct professor in the MPA program at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) from 2000-2014.

"We are fortunate to have the exclusive dedication of an internationally renowned practitioner. Our MPA students and alumni will benefit tremendously in multiple ways from the expertise and experience of Professor Gaston," said RSG's dean, Dr. Eric Patterson.

Gaston will maintain his position as city manager, and will offer one online course each semester, provide online career advisement to Regent's MPA students located in the U.S. and throughout the world, lead on-campus events four times a year, and assist in the school's accreditation to the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

"We encourage prospective students, working anywhere in the world's government and nonprofit sectors, to take courses and learn from this proven practitioner," added Dr. James Slack, professor in RSG and the MPA program director.

"I am very pleased and humbled to join the Robertson School of Government's MPA program as we strive to provide a Christian-based approach to public administration and leadership," said Gaston.

Beginning its third year, RSG's MPA program is the first Christian-based MPA program in the nation.

Student Story: Tom Kmiec - Canadian Politics

Tom Kmiec

Tom Kmiec

RSG international student Tom Kmiec is a busy man. Currently, a political candidate for the Canadian Parliament, he also is a full-time Ministry of Defense employee, a husband, a father of two, and an RSG online student pursuing his M.A. degree.

Kmiec just returned from participating in the RSG Oxford Study Abroad Program in Oxford, England, where he spent two weeks studying just war theory and the law of armed conflict. "I have always wanted to participate in a study abroad program for years and it finally worked out for my family and me. Being in Oxford was an opportunity I could not pass up!" says Kmiec.

A native of Poland, Kmiec fled the country in 1985 during a period of martial law. "I grew up thinking of war, like Cicero, of a time when the normal rules of society are suspended and anything goes. I now realize how narrow a view that was," says Kmiec. Instead, the just war tradition reminds us of the responsibility of leaders to protect the weak and promote the rule of law.

Kmiec explained that he always wanted to expand his knowledge of the American system of government and learned about Regent University from a flyer at a Youth Republican National Convention with the Conservative Party of Canada.

"Once I looked at the RSG faculty profiles and courses offered, I knew Regent was for me," says Kmiec. "The faculty—like Professor Emeritus Philip Bom, who previously worked with the Canadian Parliament, have practical real-world experience." Kmiec wanted to learn more about how a Christian worldview connects to public policy and government.

Kmiec admits that doing the majority of his courses online and the academic rigor in addition to his other responsibilities required a lot of dedication, consistency and discipline. "Looking back, I am amazed at how much I have learned about the American system of government and the principles and values that underpin it."

Desiring to make a difference, Kmiec decided to run for political office in the Canadian Parliament in early 2014 as a part of a conservative party. Kmiec credits what he learned from RSG in assisting him to create a better campaign team, focus on issues that matter and, most importantly,—to never shortchange his integrity for the sake of political gain.

"My Regent education has given me the confidence to seek political office knowing I have the right skills, experience and knowledge to get the job done," says Kmiec.

Kmiec says he is inspired like former United Kingdom Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, to be a passionate promoter of conservative principles and tireless defender of doing what is right in public life. "As flawed as our world is, there is so much good that we can do as Christians held to the highest standards of integrity, character and morality."

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Alumni Story: Katie Hunt '14 - In the Field

Katie Hunt '14

Katie Hunt '14

RSG alumna Katie Hunt (`14) wasted no time in applying her freshly minted M.A. in Government degree. Hunt quickly landed her current position as the field director for Governor Rick Scott (R-FL).

"I have a passion for politics and public policy," says Hunt. "RSG prepares students like me by giving them the tools and education needed to enter into the real world of government."

A native of Illinois, Hunt came directly to Regent after earning her undergraduate degree in political science. Desiring to be close to Washington, D.C., Hunt says after a campus visit to Regent University, she looked no further.

"While visiting, I made the decision to enroll right then and there."

Hunt says the prestige and beauty of the campus along with the integration of a Christian worldview was a large draw. But, she emphasizes, it was the Regent professors that influenced her decision the most.

"Real-world experience and academic rigor really make a difference and a huge impact," says Hunt.

Admittedly, Hunt says her first semester as a graduate student was a challenge. "Transitioning from undergraduate right into graduate school was tough, but I persevered and accomplished my goals which was truly rewarding."

Hunt credits the time professors provided to her as a factor in her success while at Regent. "RSG professors make time for their students and the class size also makes interaction and community an advantage."

As a former intern at the office of United States Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Hunt knows the importance of internships. While at Regent, Hunt also secured an internship at the Joint Force Staff College researching unknown terrorist groups for a JFSC publication. "These internships shaped my interest and future career goals," says Hunt. Hunt also encourages students to be involved in the many activities available at RSG.

As Hunt looks toward the future, she has her eyes focused on the nation's capital where she hopes to work on national security issues in the intelligence community.

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Recent Events

Learning to Lead

The last sentence in the Armed Forces Code of Conduct states, "I will trust in my God and in the United States of America." Faith and service to this great nation go hand in hand, which is exactly why Regent University is steadfast in its support of the men and women of our armed forces. "Part of Regent University's commitment to America is its determination to reach out to our military," says Regent Distinguished Professor and retired Admiral Vern Clark, former Chief of Naval Operations and a member of George W. Bush's Joint Chiefs of Staff. "Whether it's on campus in Virginia Beach or through its highly rated online programs, Regent is a great place for military members to invest in their future."

A fully accredited Servicemembers Opportunity College, active-duty military, veterans, spouses and dependents account for nearly a quarter of the university's entire student body. More than half of them study online, which is good news according to U.S. News & World Report.

In May, the digital magazine ranked Regent among the best online programs for veterans and service members. The university was the top-ranked school in Virginia for graduate education, placing eighth nationally, and was the only school in the Commonwealth to land in the top 20 for bachelor's programs, again placing eighth in the nation.


RSG's Signature Oxford Experience Turns 10

0 Regent's Robertson School of Government (RSG) returned to Oxford, England, this summer for its annual student immersion in Britain's cultural and political climate. One course compared Western and Islamic legal norms; a second class studied just war theory and the law of armed conflict.

"The RSG Oxford experience is tremendous: a tutorial-style learning environment, expert guest lecturers, visits to historic sites, and the camaraderie of a close-knit community of scholars," observed RSG Dean, Dr. Eric Patterson. "This is an RSG distinctive!"

This 10th annual study-abroad program attracted a diverse group of students from the government and law schools both on-campus and online, and from across the U.S. and the world. Participants included a congressional staff member, the spouse of a diplomat, a political candidate, a military member, and students who had lived or worked throughout the Middle East.

"The Oxford Study Abroad Program was one of my most memorable and enriching life experiences," said Marie Leandre, an RSG student and native Haitian. "It allowed me to meet students from different fields of studies and from around the country. … I blended so well with them that I forgot we were from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds."

The trip consisted of two academic courses in law and government. The first, taught by Regent Law professor Thomas Folsom, was "Liberty, Law and Politics: Islamic and Western Perspectives." The course surveyed law and politics in the Western and Islamic legal traditions, as they intersect in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe in unique ways.

"Professor Folsom showed us in a relatively short period of time the breadth and depth of Islam, our interconnectedness, and our disjuncture," Leandre said. "He wrapped up by equipping us to provide a Christian response to Muslim narratives if we are to cohabit peacefully in a world that seems merging day by day."

During this course, students took a tour of Parliament and sat in on a session in the House of Commons as it was debating religious freedom concerns in the context of the growing Muslim population in Britain. Students also visited the Central London Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre prior to the start of the Muslim holiday Ramadan. Students received a tour of the facility, viewed afternoon prayers and heard a discussion from an imam on the effects of Islamic law in modern society and in England.

Students also participated in a roundtable discussion at the Quilliam Foundation, the world's first counter-extremism think-tank set up to address the unique challenges of citizenship, identity and belonging in a globalized world. Quilliam advocates for religious freedom, equality, human rights and democracy.

The second course, taught by Patterson, was "Just War: Ethics and Law in Contemporary Conflict." The course examined the ethical and legal framework in which armed conflict occurs, from the moral consideration of using force to how war is fought and ended. This class fell at a particularly meaningful time as the UK was gearing up to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I on August 4.

Patterson provided training for his students on the law of war, the same training military personnel receive from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The students also heard guest lecturer Dr. Dapo Akande, director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law & Armed Conflict at Oxford University.

Excursions during this class included a trip to the British Museum and London's International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), where they had a roundtable discussion with the think-tank's professionals about just war, the rule of law and their application in current global conflicts.

"I was born in Poland and we fled there in 1985 during martial law," said RSG student Tom Kmiec, who is currently running for the Canadian Parliament. "I grew up thinking of war, like Cicero, as a time when the normal rules of civilized society are suspended and anything goes. I realize now how narrow a view that was and where the opportunity lies in avoiding total war. Being in Oxford with Dean Patterson was an exceptional opportunity I could not pass up."

Though the group focused studiously on their course material, they were able to explore historical Oxford sites such as Christ Church, the Bodleian Library, the Ashmolean Museum and Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

For some students, the trip was not limited to Oxford or even London: many made weekend excursions around the UK and across the English Channel to Stonehenge, the Cotswolds, Normandy, Paris, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

"This is a once in a lifetime experience for students," said Oxford program coordinator, Diane Hess-Hernandez. "The history and culture of England is amazing in itself, but these courses and the related trips allow students to experience England through a Christian worldview, which makes the program even more meaningful. Our faculty are able to show them Christian leadership in a global context."

RSG Faculty Summer 2014

The Robertson School of Government faculty had a busy summer researching, writing, participating in conferences and teaching on campus and at venues across the nation and around the world. Below is a snapshot of their activities. Read more about: RSG Faculty

RSG Dean Eric Patterson participated in the Joint Staff's Human Geography Futures conference at APL/Johns Hopkins and later taught "Just War: Ethics and Law in Contemporary Conflict" at the RSG Oxford Study Abroad Program. He also spent two weeks on active duty with the Texas Air National Guard and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Associate Professor Jeffry Morrison was lead faculty member and director of the federal government's James Madison Foundation Summer Institute on the Constitution held on the campus of Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. The month-long, 6-graduate-hour course was titled "Foundations of American Constitutionalism." Students were master's students in history and political science who are outstanding high school teachers from all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

Associate Dean Mary Manjikian completed two research projects for the Army War College on the topics of confidence building measures in cyberspace and the politics of defense cuts. She also presented at the Christians in Political Science Conference at Azusa Pacific University held in California.

Professor Jim Slack, Director of RSG's MPA program, authored a book entitled, "Devotions for the Christian Public Servant," which is scheduled for publication in 2014. He also attended the Christians in Political Science Conference at Azusa Pacific University in California where he gave a presentation entitled, "What Should Christians Do with a Murderer: The Christian Dilemma of the Word & the Intimate Consequences of the World."

Professor Gary Roberts had two books accepted for publication entitled, "Servant Leader Human Resource Management: A Moral and Spiritual Perspective" and "Christian Scripture and Human Resource Management: Building a Path to Servant Leadership through Faith."

Assistant Professor Ionut Popescu attended the Annual Teachers Workshop in Basin, Vt., organized by the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and the Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies. The workshop focused on best practices in national security topics and crisis simulations. He also wrote a book chapter on "Learning the Right Lessons from Ronald Reagan's Grand Strategy."

Principal Lecturer Robert Dyer taught a RSG summer course "Organizational Theory." He also wrote an article "Striving for Excellence via Process Improvement" for Towns & Cities magazine with Virginia Beach City Manager Jim Spore.

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Dr. Margery Coulson-Clark Heads MPA Advisory Board

Dr. Margery Coulson-Clark, Dean Eric Patterson (right) and Professor Sam S. Gaston, the MPA program's Practitioner-in-Residence/Online.

Dr. Margery Coulson-Clark of Elizabeth City State University has been named chair of the National Advisory Board for Regent University's Master of Public Administration (MPA) program.

"Professor Coulson-Clark's experience in academic administration and program development is widely recognized and beneficial to our MPA program," said Dr. Eric Patterson, dean of Regent's Robertson School of Government (RSG). "With her leadership and assistance, our MPA program will advance in reputation and service."

The advisory board is composed of internationally acclaimed scholars, educators and public managers. Board members advise and assist the dean and RSG faculty on issues to advance Regent's MPA program.

Coulson-Clark is an associate professor of political science and public administration at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. She is trained as an accreditation site visitor for the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) and also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of International Studies and Development.

Now in its third year, the Robertson School of Government's MPA program is the first MPA program in the nation rooted in a Christian worldview.


Upcoming Events

Etiquette Seminar and Luncheon: Joy Weaver
September 6, 2014

Executive Leadership Luncheon: Gov. Mike Huckabee
September 19, 2014

Senator A. Willis Robertson Lecture on Virginia Politics
September 23, 2014

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