RSG Newsletter – April 2017
Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
We are only a month from graduation and our students and faculty have been busy. In this edition of our newsletter you’ll meet some of those students and alumni, such as Phoenicia Hill (MPA, ’17), who was on the first place team at a NASPAA student competition at George Mason University, and alumna Chelsen Vicari (MA, ’11), who works at the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, DC. In recent weeks we have also had the privilege of hosting former RSG student and state-level judge (Oregon) Vance Day and alumnus, and past Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell.
This is the trajectory that we aim for at the Robertson School of Government: success in the classroom, meaningful work as a young professional, and maturation into significant public service. I trust that you will find the activities of our students, faculty, and alumni inspiring and I hope you will stay in touch with us at the Robertson School of Government.
Dean and Professor
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Student Story – MPA student, Phoenicia Hill, wins first place at NASPAA competition
Phoenicia Hill (MPA, ’17) competed at the NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration) Batten Student Simulation Competition. Phoenicia and her team composed of students from multiple universities took first place at the competition. The Batten Competition includes students from all over the country meeting at eight different host sites to discuss the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 (end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030). Phoenicia attended the competition at the host site, George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government in Arlington, Virginia. During the competition, Phoenicia was placed on the West Africa team in World 1. For the first two rounds of the simulation she served as the Regional Director where she was responsible for approving the projects based off a given budget, which was approximately $80 million each round. The last two rounds she acted as the Environmental Program Officer. Other team member roles included Health and Agriculture Officers.
As a team, Phoenicia and her colleagues analyzed data, proposed recommendations based on computer simulation results, submitted policy recommendation memos, and presented their solutions to a panel of site judges.
Phoenicia says, “It was an honor to represent Regent University and to meet so many other talented and dedicated public policy students. I will never forget this valuable learning experience. One of the most exciting things about the competition is that my team won at the host site!”
Book Launch with RSG Alumna Chelsen Vicari
Chelsen Vicari (MA, ’11) spoke with RSG students about her book, Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging the Faith. Currently, Chelsen serves as the Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. She formerly worked for Concerned Women for America.
Chelsen came to Regent after having graduated from Radford University. She initially enrolled in Regent’s School of Law, yet, she struggled to find a good fit in law or public policy. Chelsen then entered the Robertson School of Government, where she found her academic and professional niche.
Yet her graduation from the RSG did not guarantee her a direct avenue to professional success. After struggling to find a job in her final semester on campus, Chelsen was blessed to obtain a paid internship with Concerned Women for America (CWA). Her duties with CWA involved serving as a receptionist and many administrative tasks which also gave her the time to write on public policy issues.
In her current position with the IRD, Chelsen works to report on occasions where mainline Christian denominations employ “revisionist [Christian] theology” to promote liberal public policies. Her technique is to “speak the truth in love” to these groups. Specifically, she strives to communicate with the leaders of these denominations not “with darts” but with “grace and compassion.” Her efforts have been successful as she reported that the United Methodist Church leadership recently abandoned their support for same-sex relationships and the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in the Roe v. Wade case.
Movement Mortgage’s Toby Harris Shares “Magic of Vision” with Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series
When William “Toby” Harris co-founded Movement Mortgage, in the midst of the 2008 mortgage crises, this company had no special rates and no backing.
The state of the industry was “painful” at best, with a reported 8 million people who lost their jobs and 6 million people who lost their homes.
“We had nothing except a vision and a passion to start a company,” Harris told guests of Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series (ELS) on Wednesday, March 22.
But Harris and his partner held fast to their “magic of vision” in a time when many mortgage companies were simply trying to keep their businesses running.
He also had a challenge that was unheard of for his employees: while his competitors were processing loans in 90 days and increasing to 120 days, his loan processors were given the goal to complete theirs within seven.
This, according to Harris, was the key to the company’s growth, which now boasts funding more than one billion dollars in home mortgages a month, and 4,500 employees serving in 45 states.
The company has come a long way since its early days, when Harris held interviews for his employees in a local Starbucks – as an homage to those early days, he passes out gift cards to the coffee store to those he connects with.
“Everything in our business is about relationships,” said Harris, who set off to create a culture within his company based on servant leadership.
“There are two types of employees in our company, the loan officers and the rest of us who work for them,” said Harris, who explained that businesses can see how effective their servant leadership mentality is treating their company by watching how their employees treat each other.
He holds fast to his principle that he, as Movement Mortgage’s co-founder, co-owner and executive vice president, is there to serve his employees. So much so that his cell phone number is printed in his employees’ handbook.
His heart for serving others goes beyond his own employees; through his business, he co-founded the Movement Foundation with his partner, Casey Crawford. Through the organization, Movement Foundation has invested more than 16 million dollars in individuals, ministry partners and organizations who share the same goal to put action behind their vision.
“Business is a service,” said Harris. “And as long as you are in step with God’s plan, it’s amazing what you can do with a vision.”
Each month, Regent’s ELS brings innovative and influential business men and women to discuss leadership principles for successful organizations. Next month’s ELS will feature the annual Town Hall with Mayors of South Hampton Roads on Wednesday, April 12.
Challenges for the Christian Leader with Congressman Randy Forbes
On March 21, 2017, Congressman Randy Forbes spoke with Regent University students on “Challenges for the Christian Leader.” Forbes, former U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 4th District, serves as University Fellow at Regent University and a distinguished fellow at the U.S. Naval War College. Forbes exposed the primary qualities of Christian leadership by presenting three important questions “What is your purpose?” “Who do you follow?” and “What do you stand for?” Forbes stated that his belief in God, standing for his faith, and following Jesus Christ have guided his actions toward a career and life full of purpose. He concluded his talk with a great quote, “It takes one to stand, and one to make a change.”
Congressman Forbes speaks to students on National Security
During a recent campus visit, former U.S. Congressman and Regent University Fellow, Randy Forbes spoke with Dr. Manjikian’s Russian Politics class. He shared with the class his years of experience as senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. He stressed throughout the entire lecture the importance of strategic analysis.
Forbes discussed the importance of looking at national defense through an analytical lens. He argued that the number one threat for the U.S. right now is our absence of strategic analysis and thought. In contrast, Forbes suggested that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is an opportunist who gauges all other superpowers actions and then plots his reaction. According to Forbes, the U.S. was great at strategic planning during the Cold War, but is not well practiced in strategic analysis since it has become so accustomed to asymmetrical planning. An example of this strategic lacunae is the Obama Administration’s presuppositions stated in its National Security Strategy. That twelve-page documented included the following assumptions: 1) Isis would never grow and leave in 2009 permanently, 2) The U.S. would leave Iraq and Afghanistan completely, 3) China would never do a military build-up, and 4) Russia would never grow back militarily to the size of the Cold War.
To combat U.S. inadequacies in this arena, Forbes said, the Trump Administration must develop new strategies, determine the resources necessary to support these strategies, and be willing to take the risk associated with new strategies.
Regent ICMA Student Chapter Hosts an Event on Diversity in Administration
The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Regent student chapter organized an event on ‘Diversity in Administration’ in March. The guest speaker was Dr. Ron Carlee, Director of the Center for Regional Excellence at Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business. His career has been in local government, including City Manager, Charlotte, North Carolina; County Manager, Arlington, Virginia; Chief Operating Officer, ICMA; Director of Health and Human Services, Arlington, Virginia; and Assistant to the Mayor, Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Carlee spoke broadly on Leading Local Government in Challenging Times, looking specifically at ways to improve racial relations, overcome racial discrimination, and engender equitable service delivery to diverse populations in the country. The topic is critical because racial diversity is salient to efforts toward sustainability at the local government level.
ICMA is a leading professional association dedicated to creating and supporting thriving communities throughout the world and the advancement of professional local government through leadership, management, innovation, and ethics. The goals of ICMA Regent student chapter are to introduce and integrate students into local government and foster a strong commitment to servant leadership.
Dr. Agyapong speaks at American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) in Atlanta, GA
This year’s ASPA conference was held at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Dr. Elijah Agyapong participated in two panels. The first was on ‘Employee Attitudes and Organizational Behavior’ where he and his coauthors from the University of Texas at Dallas presented a paper on “The Impact of Goal Setting and Perceived Supervisory Support on Public Employees’ Intrinsic Motivation in U.S. Federal Agencies.” The second panel was on ‘Gender Equality and Empowerment in Public Administration. Dr. Agyapong presented a paper on “Representative Bureaucracy and Bureaucratic Responsiveness: Examining the Effects of Female Teachers on Girls’ Education in Ghana.” Western governments, especially the United States, invest a lot of resources to improve governance in developing countries. We know little, however, about whether bureaucracies in these countries are responsive to their citizens. This paper is part of a broader project that examines how the education bureaucracy can be made responsive to girls in Ghana. ASPA is a leading interdisciplinary public service organization and the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration.
Chelsen Vicari featured in a Pro-Life Message
RSG Alumna, Chelsen Vicari, is proud to have participated in a video supporting a Pro-Life Message, a topic on which “America has consensus.”
- Afghan War Game Simulation – April 20, 2017
- Book Launch with Professor Jeffry Morrison, Ph.D. and Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D. – April 24, 2017
- Why the Church Should be Incorporated – April 29, 2017
- Pi Alpha Alpha Induction Ceremony – May 4, 2017
- RSG Commissioning Service – May 5, 2017
- Regent University Commencement – May 6, 2017
- “Hacksaw Ridge”: The Moral, Ethical, & Spiritual Leadership Dimensions of Combat – May 8, 2017
- U.S. Army TRADOC Band Concert – May 25, 2017