February 2016 Newsletter
RSG is growing! Despite the negative trends in higher education, our numbers are up substantially this year. Part of that is due to new master’s concentrations including Healthcare Policy & Ethics, Political Communications, and National Security Affairs.
Unlike some of our competitors, our growth has not been rooted in lowering the quality of our faculty. In addition to our full-time faculty, we have superior practitioners-in-residence and adjunct professors with significant real-world experience. These include Rear Admiral Larry Baucom (USN, ret.) teaching on national security affairs, public health officer Lieutenant Colonel Michael Reiss (USA, ret.) teaching on healthcare ethics, and our nationally-recognized practitioners-in-residence Mr. Sam Gaston and Dr. Edwin Daley (both past ICMA presidents).
I am thankful for the quality of faculty RSG represents. They have proven track records as “Christian leaders to change the world” and can bring that expertise to bear in educating the next generations of public servants.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
Robertson School of Government
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Student Story: Josh Nierle (’16)
Josh Nierle (’16) came to Regent University with the intent of pursuing a joint degree in government and law, but once he stepped into the classrooms of the Robertson School of Government (RSG) he realized that was where he was happiest. Josh has the long term goal of going into politics, which was why he had wanted to go to school for the joint degree, but his path changed. Josh is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Government with concentrations in Political Theory and International Relations. Josh also is receiving a certificate in Middle-East Politics, and he will be graduating from RSG this May.
When he started at RSG, Josh observed the commitment to academic excellence that was practiced not only by the students, but also the faculty. Alongside with that commitment was an ironclad respect for the principles of Christianity that are constantly integrated within the classroom and personal lives of everyone on campus. Josh enjoyed being immersed in the foundational government classes which showed the theory and influence of such Christians as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas who sought to apply Christian principles to issues of war, peace, and security. Augustine did this in the context of a failing Roman Empire; Aquinas during the period of back and forth between Muslim and Christian armies from Spain to Eastern Europe. RSG helps prepare students for their career path after graduation day, the degrees earned are challenging and well balanced. And for new students or interested students, Josh would share his experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. Understandably everyone’s experience is different, but that is what makes RSG great, are the well-practiced faculty and the diverse body of students who come from near and far to learn together. Josh would advise new students to be prepared for the rigorous classes and readings, but overall RSG offers a rewarding experience.
Thinking back over his experiences within the classroom, Josh shared that his favorite classes had been “Democracy and Democratization” with Dr. Bonicelli and “Islamic Political Thought” with Dean Patterson. Going into the class with almost no knowledge, Josh found the connections between Islamic thought and what is currently going on around the world to be crucial in his understanding of the new role that Islam plays.
After graduation, Josh would like to teach at a university or work with a think tank so he could continue researching the questions whose answers will continue to improve lives. Before teaching, Josh is hoping to continue in his studies and pursue a Ph.D. in Political Science with a concentration in political theory or international relations.
Alumni Story: Eushekia Hewitt (’03)
Eushekia Hewitt (’03) works as the Director of an affinity group for the United Way of South Hampton Roads and as an adjunct faculty member at South University and Tidewater Community College. After completing her undergraduate studies in political science, she came to Regent University to get her Master’s in Campaign Management.
She first began to take interest in government and political issues while in a speech and debate club in high school, and decided to pursue campaign management during her undergraduate studies. When asked what drew her to the field of political science, Eushekia said that it was helping people and making a difference that motivated her. “A calling to help others is what drew me into the political arena. I wanted to help candidates who had a similar moral background as myself.” After arriving on campus at Regent, her program immediately thrusted her into internships on the campaign trail where she quickly learned what it takes to communicate a clear and powerful vision and get a candidate into office. She was also deeply influenced on a personal level by the spiritual life on campus and the relationships she built here. She said, “I have some lifelong friends that I’ve made through Regent who have been there to support me, pray for me, and be my biggest cheerleaders. It was only two years, but I really formed some close relationships.”
Eushekia worked on a number of political campaigns. “My first big campaign was with a Regent alumna who was running for a local House of Delegates race. It was actually a historic campaign because she was the first black female Republican to be elected to represent a primarily minority district.” Though Eushekia enjoyed her time on the campaign trail, she soon shifted her career into the non-profit world and began using her promotional skills as a Fundraising Associate for the United Way of South Hampton Roads.
The United Way is a charitable organization that unites efforts in fundraising and support to improve local communities and solve community issues. Eushekia has worked in multiple capacities for the United Way of South Hampton Roads and now serves as the Director of their African American Leadership Society. Though she never would have expected that she would end up working for a non-profit, she said, “I love what I am doing with United Way because I am doing what I ultimately wanted to do with politics, which is make a difference. I love going to a meeting with an individual and finding out about their passion to help the community. There are a lot of people in our area who are really committed to making South Hampton Roads a better place to live and work and raise a family, and I actually get to go out and meet donors and thank them for their support.”
Eushekia’s skills as a communicator and presenter have also opened doors for her to work in higher education, another one of her passions. She has held positions as a Presenter and Career Advisor at ECPI University and an Instructor at South University, and has recently begun to teach government and politics classes as an adjunct instructor at Tidewater Community College. She balances her work for the United Way with her work in higher-education and her roles as a military spouse supporting her husband Tyrone and mother of two young daughters, Annaliese and Aviana. Eushekia sees how God is using her in all of these roles to achieve her goal of touching the lives of other people. “I see the work that I do all tying in together. When you finish school you have a certain idea of how your life is going to go, but things change and the Lord provides other opportunities for you.” Looking back on her story so far, her encouragement to other Regent alumni is, “Be open to what God has for your career and always remain flexible.”
RSG Dinner with General John Ashcroft
Former U.S. Attorney General and Robertson School of Government (RSG) Distinguished Professor John Ashcroft and his wife Janet, hosted a barbeque dinner at their residence for students and faculty. This event illustrates one way that Regent University students benefit from building relationships with their professors.
“It was a unique pleasure to join the Ashcrofts in their residence to partake in food and fun,” said Jacob Stephens (MA ’17). It is a great time for School of Government students to unwind and get to know each other better in the midst of a busy semester.
General Ashcroft, who has taught at Regent for the past ten years, and Dean Eric Patterson served barbecue and dessert to faculty and students alike. The evening included current events-related activities as well as a time for discussion of government affairs. The General offered valuable insight to the students based on his time as governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General. The night concluded with numerous songs including Regent’s official school hymn, “Regent, Host of Faith and Learning” (text written by General Ashcroft).
General Ashcroft teaches a national legal policy class as well as a class entitled Civil Liberties, Human Rights, and National Security. Beyond his time in the classroom, he annually hosts up to six such events like the government dinner which allow him more time with students.
How Students Can Engage in the Political Process
As the 2016 presidential race heats up, demand for volunteers to get out the vote climbs up. Republican National Committee director of faith engagement Chad Connelly visited a crowded Regent University classroom Thursday evening, January 21, to tell students about a real-world, real-time way to get engaged and active in the political process.
“My desire, and the desire of some of my colleagues, is to come to universities across the country, and give an opportunity to students who are looking for that real-world experience,” said Connelly. “The RLI program is going to hire 1,300 people across the country in this election, and we’re actually going to have even more interns than that. There are going to be volunteers, mostly in the battleground states. The opportunity is unprecedented.”
The Republican Leadership Initiative (RLI) aims to put students, young people, or anyone who wants to get involved into a system where they learn how to run a campaign. Connelly shared his personal journey of how God led him into public service, and says the political process is a spiritual one. He explains that 40 or 50 percent of the Republican Party’s base in a primary is faith-based. This translates to 25 or 35 percent in a general election, and he’d like more Christians to be involved.
“I believe when people just do the detached, non-personal TV ads, they’re missing something,” said Connelly. “Politics is always going to be about that high touch, getting to know people, getting to know them at the back door, seeing them at the events. They call it retail politics. This is a really big deal. We believe this is where the other side has overcome us and beat us the last couple of cycles. We were the best at it. We kind of got lackadaisical, so we’re re-engaging and doing this at a level where we’ve never done it before.”
The RLI opportunity will select students to join the program as “fellows.” It pulls people together from across the country to work on a campaign. This can include sign-waving, door-knocking and phone-banking. Connelly says it not only provides experience, but is a great networking opportunity, forming relationships that could lead to recommendations down the road.
“The real chance here for a student is to get real-world experience and have somebody who is in that political world write a nice letter for them, or get to know them, or be able to recommend them later on,” said Connelly.
Connelly is the RNC’s first director of faith engagement and is also leading an online effort to rally conservative believers behind the party.
Donald Trump at Regent University’s Presidential Candidate Forum – February 24, 2016
“Defense Against the Dark Arts” ethics conversation with Judge Patricia West – Date TBD