RSG Newsletter – March 2019
Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
For some observers, government seems to revolve around the nation’s capital only. The Mueller probe has come to an end, and now the Congressional probes may gain momentum, but to what end? Clearly the goals are political and partisan in many cases, and probes and inquisitions are now tools of the next political campaign. Will we learn from the shambles of this process that has taken up over half of a presidency? Some may think we need to double down while others would argue that an end to the special counsel laws are in order. But for now, let’s just ignore the whole thing.
In the absence of a probe, what would we have been talking about? One report today said global poverty is at the lowest levels ever? What? Has government done a good job in general or is there some other factor to that? Let me say that again; GLOBAL POVERTY IS AT THE LOWEST LEVEL EVER. That should be big news. Now the question is why, and can we repeat that result?
This is the type of answer that students in the Robertson School of Government can try to find. In this month’s Newsletter we read about our team of students who competed at the NASPAA competition on the topic of immigration and the challenges faced in both the human rights and national perspectives. More students participated in the Afghan War Game simulation that incorporated a mix of players who were assigned roles in organizations like NGOs and local governments. The game also mixed in the importance of religious leaders and community sages. The students gamed out the need to earn influence, accumulate resources, and solve problems while cooperating and competing with people doing the same tasks in other cities. They learned that games are not fair and that resources are not distributed evenly, meaning they had to be resourceful and creative to solve complex problems.
Moving from gaming to the application of that knowledge, our alumnus Tao Tang’s enterprise that serves international students from China, and our current student Andra Ingalls’s role in local government and a non-profit faith based organization are highlighted in this newsletter. These students/alumni are making waves and improving their worlds in the positive ways that I would say the Mueller probe has not. May we find the ways for government to do good beyond the world of attack politics in the Robertson School of Government and beyond.
Interim Dean and Professor
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Regent Students Perform Well in NASPAA Student Competition
by RSG student and team member, Anthony Riley
The NASPAA-Batten simulation at Georgetown University was an excellent way for Regent students to showcase the skills and knowledge gained during our studies, and apply them to a real world issue. The focus of the competition was the issue of global migration. There were teams participating around the world and the Regent team was in a simulated “world” in which we competed as the fictional country of Urmm. Our country was tasked with making policy decisions in conjunction with three other fictional countries that were represented by teams from other schools. Throughout the day, we grappled with decisions that would affect not only our own country but those from the other fictional countries.
The Regent team performed well and obtained several medals throughout the competition for meeting goals and completing tasks well. The day was long but it was a great way to gain a greater understanding of both the hard decisions that migrants face as well as the tough choices leaders must make regarding the issue of global migration. It also gave the students an opportunity to reflect on what a Christian leader would do in these situations when making policy decisions. The Robertson School of Government was represented well with team members studying International Relations, American Government, and Public Administration. The team had great rapport from the onset and overall enjoyed a great day of fellowship, learning, and competition. Following the competition the team took some time to explore D.C. and admire our nation’s capital.
Doya Education Promotes Love in Action for Chinese International Students
RSG Alumnus Tao Tang is the Founder and President of Doya Education, established as a non-profit organization in February 2017. “Doya is dedicated to helping new Chinese international students to adapt to the U.S. academic and cultural environment,” according to its website.
There’s a two-fold approach of the Doya project. On the academic side, Doya produces customized bilingual contents. This includes topic-based educational videos and bilingual summaries of Western book literature. On the social side the company promotes that, “we are working with a group of developers to build a platform where ministries, organizations or credible individuals can organize events and reach out to the new Chinese students in need.”
Tang stated, “Our work is a great opportunity to serve them to be an example and represent Christ.” Doya provides “overflowing love to be passed down to them,” he said.
Tang said that we should all become the light in the world. His recommends that students “ask some important fundamental questions, such as why you want to do everything?” He elaborated, “We are always discovering ourselves and on a quest. When our passion runs out, we will hit a wall … Values will carry you through the challenges and setbacks.”
Tang, a Joint Degree graduate, earned an M.A. Government and MBA degrees in fall 2016. He selected to study at Regent University because he shared the university’s Christian values.
Andra Ingalls Supplements Local Government Role with MPA Studies
Andra Ingalls is serving as Town Councilor of Ledyard, Connecticut, while pursuing her MPA degree in the Robertson School of Government. She also works as Director of Development for Faith 2 Faith Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the gospel through youth centered community based outreach in partnership with the church.
Her employment and government activities are a perfect blend with pursuing her studies in the Non-Profit and Faith-Based Organizations concentration in her MPA program. On the town council, Ingalls is a member of the finance subcommittee, chairwoman of the administration committee and serves as the liaison to the Board of Education. Previously, Ingalls was an elected member of the Ledyard Board of Education, where she held a seat on the finance and policy subcommittees.
Ingalls has long had a desire to be in public service. This life calling made her notice the M.P.A. Program offered within the Robertson School of Government, which could be completed online. But she notes that the personal touch has also drawn her to the school. She expects to graduate this May.
In addition to her professional career and academics, Ingalls is a mother of four children, whom she home schooled. She is a trainer for the Parenting the Love and Logic Way™ curriculum. As she approaches graduation, Ingalls challenges her peers and the RSG alumni to “stay the course and hold a clear sense of calling.”
Students Compete in Afghan Provincial Reconstruction Simulation
Students and faculty from the Robertson School of Government gathered to participate in an Afghanistan simulation, titled “Reconstruction and Stability Operations in Highly Religious Environments.” Led by Dr. Eric Patterson, the goal of the simulation was to have different players try to reconstruct Afghanistan. Throughout the game, players were required to handle negotiations, crises, and resources all the while attempting to rebuild. A key feature of the game is the emphasis on the thick culture of Afghanistan, including religious-inspired violence, fatwas, and traditional power structures. The participants soon realized that bringing stability and long-term development to Afghanistan was not a simple task. Within each round came the possibility of an unforeseen crisis forcing players to rebuild or reallocate resources.
By the end of the game, the players overall reconstruction was somewhat successful, only slightly below the required stability number needed to win the simulation. However, for Dr. Patterson, it was more than just about a successful completion of the simulation. After the last round Dr. Patterson had players discuss what they had learned from this game. Players covered not only its applicability but also a religious perspective. One thought presented by those in attendance was the importance of culture and collaboration. Student, Bruce Ausink notes, “I like how this exercise forced us to ‘think outside the box’ to acquire the necessary resources and influence to finish and then sustain our projects.” He also shared that the simulation allowed participants to “see and experience much greater efficiencies after being able to communicate with the other agencies and players, and with the state government as well. The game rewarded each player for their efforts to communicate with all the other leaders in the game. It proved that diplomacy can be rewarding. All were united under a common goal of stability, we began to care just as much about the other players as we did ourselves the more we communicated.”
Just American Wars examines the moral choices faced by U.S. leaders in deciding when and how to employ force, from the American Revolution to the present day. For instance, what was Truman’s responsibility for dropping the atomic bomb? How did JFK and Nixon’s egos impact moral decision-making toward Vietnam? Was the American Revolution a just war to begin with?
These are just a few of the issues tackled in Dr. Eric Patterson’s latest book which was the topic of a panel discussion with Dr. Patterson and Dr. Dan Koev, and moderated by Dr. Mark Jumper, all of Regent University.
Dr. Mary Manjikian recently traveled to the Institute for Advanced Study at Stellenbosch University, South Africa for the 14th annual International Conference on Cyberwarfare and Security. She presented a paper on “The Ethics of Trust in Man-Machine Interactions” as part of the conference track on Psychological Operations in cyber warfare. She particularly enjoyed interacting with colleagues from around the world, and learning about the 2016 election hacking through presentations by Scandinavian and Russian colleagues. Dr. Manjikian notes that many of the solutions being proposed to increase our trust in social media and the Internet of Things (IOT) are in fact too expensive for consumers in the developing world, including Africa. She notes that it was stunning to see how thoroughly the internet has penetrated societies, even those where poverty is high and infrastructure is poor. Next year’s International Conference on Cyberwarfare and Security will be held in Norfolk, Virginia — so students and alumni may wish to look into attending! Details can be found at this link: https://www.academic-conferences.org/conferences/iccws/.
Dr. Agyapong attended the Conference of Minority Public Administrators (COMPA), a section of the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA). Dr. Agyapong participated in a panel discussion on Global Public Administration and Immigration. His also presented a paper which examined two forms of administrative reforms to engender bureaucratic responsiveness in Africa. The first and widely explored avenue within the representative democratic framework is descriptive representation, e.g., through affirmative action or quota hiring. The second and relatively underexplored in developing democracies is the advocacy role framework where bureaucrats are sensitized to identify with and promote the interests of the less represented groups in the population. Dr. Agyapong argued that because most African democracies lack the economic, policy, and institutional capacities to recruit more women or ethnic minorities into the civil service, for instance, reforms based on the advocacy framework might be cost-effective and a worthwhile investment.
The Robertson School of Government (RSG) participated in two recent events hosted by the American Society of Public Administration.
Dr. Roberts moderated a panel on diversity and representation; and provided a summary of his research on servant leadership human resource management at the American Society of Public Administration Conference in Washington D.C. His presentation summarized the foundational character and competency attributes of servant leadership and the robust empirical literature supporting its effectiveness and universal applicability across cultures. The audience followed-up with insightful questions that facilitated more in-depth questions.
RSG students Debra Cohen and Ronnie Parker made outstanding presentations at the 2019 Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration’s Annual Student/Practitioner Symposium on sustainability/resiliency. Debra presented her promising research on the important emergency management policy area of the vulnerability of our electoral grid to an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack. Ronnie’s presentation summarized his work on regional collaboration between Richmond and Hampton Roads to enhance economic development and regional competitiveness. Both presentations provided insightful, detailed policy and management analysis, and were well-received generating significant audience interest and questions.
- Almost Human? Robots, Aliens, Trans-humanism and the Image of God – April 2, 2019
- Analyzing Israel’s Election: A Roundtable – April 16, 2019
- Defense Against the Dark Arts – April 25, 2019