RSG Newsletter – April 2019
Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
Commencement at Regent University is just around the corner and many students from the Robertson School of Government will don robes and receive the degrees they have earned over the past many months and years of studying. Those students will have earned MA degrees in Government, National Security Studies, or Public Administration. Other Regent students who are finishing degrees in Government will graduate with Bachelor’s Degrees from our College of Arts and Sciences. Some of those will matriculate into our MA programs and become students all over again next year.
Of course, a college graduation has the distinction of being known as a commencement for obvious reasons as the students leave the “safety” of being a student and make their start in the job world of hazards. Some will find jobs with their dream organization. Others will receive promotions or pay raises. And others will try one thing, then another, then another, seeking that right fit for their lives.
At Regent, we have a ceremony that precedes commencement. Even students ask a lot of questions about it since they aren’t familiar with it elsewhere. We call it commissioning. In the early days of the Christian church, disciples were commissioned to go out into the world and spread the good news. In RSG, our students will be going out into the world, hopefully to live a life that reflects the calling of God on their lives. It may not be to spread the good news as an early church disciple would have, but it is to be a representative of Christ whether they are managing money, organizing schedules, interpreting or writing public policy, or even moving from job to job.
Thus, we will commission our graduates with a call to go and exhibit both excellence in discipline and in life. They will be commissioned to live daily in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control, whether at work or home or play. Thus, it is at our commissioning where students will hear their names, receive their MA hoods, and receive a prayer that will send them out to be Christian leaders who change their corner of the world.
And so, should you, dear reader, be one who hires a Regent University graduate, please know that they are doing more than commencing on a new career. They will have been commissioned to do it through and in the Spirit of Christ.
Interim Dean and Professor
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Almost Human? Robots, Aliens, Trans-humanism and the Image of God
In the second annual RSG Science Fiction event, Dr. A.J. Nolte addressed the question: what makes us human, and what does it mean for our faith and politics? These reflections were rooted in Christian anthropology, which views human beings as made in the image of God. Taking Christ as the ultimate example of this image of God in perfect form, Dr. Nolte keyed in on three aspects of the image: love, creativity, and rationality. Further, the fact that human beings are made in the image of God has political implications related to their life, liberty, and dignity. Using science fiction stories, novels, and television, Dr. Nolte then addressed three potential challenges to this anthropology: robots (derivative creation), aliens (different creation) and trans-humanism (self-creation). The event concluded with a lively Q&A session.
Alumnus Nicole Hayes Integrates Faith and Public Service to Healthcare Professionals
Nicole Hayes, a Master of Public Administration graduate (‘07), ministers to healthcare professionals in the Washington, D.C. area through her role as an Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Association (CMDA).
In this role, she “ministers to the spiritual, professional and personal needs of D.C.-area healthcare professionals and healthcare students on medical and dental school and health science campuses,” she said. But she had previous preparation for this role. Before CMDA, Hayes worked with Buoyant Partners, Inc., a multicultural marketing and communications firm. Hayes was responsible for overseeing “large and small project needs for a D.C.-based health care foundation working to establish health, economic and racial equity for the District’s marginalized residents.”
Hayes also had other ministry experience. She says one of her greatest accomplishments was to establish “Voices against the Grain.” The non-profit organization is a “media and teaching ministry dedicated to educating, equipping and encouraging those seeking to advance God’s Kingdom in a challenging world.” The non-profit organization, delivers content through the organization’s blog and a weekly online radio show.
The Robertson School of Government is proud to have Nicole as an alumnus who continues to be a public servant both in a local and global sphere. It was her desire to lead a non-profit organization that originally led her to pursue an M.P.A. degree.
Student Internship to Help Reconcile Diverse Groups in Israel with Musalaha
While it is natural to most people to run from conflict, Abigail Zarzar, current M.A. in Government student, is running toward it with an internship that will take her to Israel and have her working in an organization that deals with conflicts this summer.
Zarzar “desires to work in reconciliation and peacebuilding specifically within intractable conflicts,” she said. So she applied for an internship with Musalaha, a “non-profit in Jerusalem that works in reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, Christians, Muslims and Jews.”
Her close relationship with family members who are Palestinian helped to cultivate her interest in working in the Middle East, and in Jerusalem. She will begin her assignment there in mid-July.
For the next 10 weeks her main responsibilities will include research, administration, and communications within the Musalaha office. While there she will also attend workshops and seminars on reconciliation. She will help with summer camps for Israeli and Palestinian children who come from different religious backgrounds.
Zarzar’s internship will augment her concentration in International Relations. She encourages fellow students to embrace people of different ethnicities and to “step outside of the friend group, get to know different types of people, and hear their stories.”
Dean Perry attended the Broadcast Education Association / National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, NV on April 6-10. He presented his paper, “‘Flying with the Mail’: Emphasizing Elements of the Technological Sublime on NBC Red.”
The paper included the history of how a series of beacons were set up every 10 miles across the continent from New York, through Chicago, and on to San Francisco. These lighted beacons helped airplanes deliver mail more quickly by continuing to fly at night in the days before cockpits had radar and other radio controlled navigation equipment. The NBC radio network of 1932 broadcast a program that promoted the use of airmail by detailing the bravery of the pilots who flew this lighted night route.
The lighted route traced the trails originally followed by the stagecoach, then the pony express, then the transcontinental railroad, and finally the airplane, reducing the time it took to transport communication across the country with each successive technological innovation.
On April 16, RSG hosted an event analyzing the 2019 Israeli election. Dr. A.J. Nolte presented background on the Israeli political system, issues at stake in the election, the results, and the turbulent path ahead for Prime Minister Netanyahu. Former RSG student, Austin Olzeski, who is living and working in Israel, provided a local, on-the-ground perspective, and critical insight into the Israeli population’s perception of the campaign and outcome. RSG student, Kylen Griffith Doubt noted, “Dr. Nolte adeptly explained Israeli politics in both an accessible and in-depth fashion and helped all the attendees better appreciate a political system wildly different than our own.” Doubt further highlighted that Dr. Nolte and Austin, “were able to demystify much of Israeli politics and give everyone a better understanding of the nation as a whole.”
Dean Perry’s book Pro Football and the Proliferation of Protest: Anthem Posture in a Divided America was published by Lexington. It reached the number 1 best-selling book in the civil rights category on Amazon.com just after its release.
Practitioner-in-Residence, Sam Gaston, has been busy attending and presenting at various conferences. He attended the winter conference of the Alabama City-County Management Association (ACCMA) as well as the ICMA Southeast Regional Summit both in Greenville, SC. Gaston made a presentation to the Cherokee Bend Garden Club about the City of Mountain Brook, AL, sharing about the various projects the city is undertaking for FY-2019 and some of the issues the city is addressing. Professor Gaston will be presenting to the Alabama League of Municipalities on May 6th about the Joys and Challenges of Public Service. He also attended the MPA Advisory Committee meeting of Auburn University and the UAB MPA Alumni luncheon to assist in the presentation of the 3rd annual Gaston Mentoring Award. Professor Gaston is also a generous benefactor of the MPA program at Regent donating funds to help students attend various functions.
- Robertson School of Government Commissioning – May 10, 2019
- Regent University Commencement – May 11, 2019