Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
It is my privilege to serve for a second year as the Interim Dean of the Robertson School of Government. I am proud of our programs and how we train and equip graduates in the Judeo-Christian foundations of government to promote and defend democratic ideals that enhance human flourishing and the public interest in America and the global context.
It is disappointing to me that so many terms we use in American Society – all terms that have positive implications – have become loaded with so many connotative meanings. For example, the terms social justice and liberty are both positive terms, expressing ideals that all should be able to agree on. Yet, each of those terms tends to be connected these days with only one specific political position.
Another pair of examples might be the terms “welfare” and “life.” In the Preamble to the Constitution we see that it was written to promote the common welfare, and the Declaration of Independence says we have inalienable rights that include life as the first item. Yet both terms have come to stand for specific causes for or against which specific political perspectives stand.
The term that really surprised me the other day, however, though it shouldn’t have, was “national unity.” Of course, there are political parties in the Philippines, Canada, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and other places that use that name. The terms in each of these cases were chosen because they could become rallying cries for political action. Subsequent to those choices, the meanings of the terms are forever changed it seems. So, it seems like we are running out of terms that don’t have a pre-loaded political bias that accompanies them.
Now, I return to my first paragraph. Yes, we at Regent will continue to train students in the Judeo-Christian tradition. For some people that is taken as problematic. But many authors have explained how it is that tradition that gives us the notions in the founding documents of the United States, and in the founding principles of science and the scientific method. So, we will train our students in that tradition.
I also specify that we train in democratic ideals. I’m not sorry to those who lean toward alternatives such as communism or socialism. We do not train in those areas – though you will learn about them, we do not stand behind them.
Finally, we seek to enhance human flourishing. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York was reported to have advocated for ending programs for gifted students. Why? Isn’t there a better government solution than ending support for high performers? I can assure you that at Regent University, we are supportive of attracting top scholars. You don’t have to be labeled as “gifted,” yet we and every employer of the future will hope that each student or employee are “gifted” at what they do. In the 2019/2020 academic year, we seek to train our students to be just that – gifted. In such training, then, we want them all to become Christian leaders to change the world.
Stephen D. Perry, Ph.D.
Interim Dean and Professor
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Regent University Celebrates the Amazing Growth and Accomplishments of 2018
The 40th year of Regent University was one marked by new milestones and achievements that are laying the groundwork for an even more successful future.
Regent is outpacing the higher-education market in miraculous ways. After five years of consecutive growth, the university has increased its total enrollment by 75 percent, while other colleges and universities have experienced a decline of three percent during that same time period. Our record-breaking fall enrollment of nearly 11,000 students represents every state and 68 countries. Regent’s military-affiliated population is more than 3,000 students strong. This accounts for 30 percent of our total student body. Military-student enrollment has grown 81 percent over the past year.
Excellence in Education
For the first time in its history, Regent is recognized as a top-tier university nationally by U.S. News & World Report, 2019. The top-tier category includes Harvard, Yale and other Ivy League schools. And for the sixth year in a row, Regent’s College of Arts & Sciences maintained its “A” rating for comprehensive core curriculum from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. Only two percent of the 1,100 colleges surveyed earn this prestigious rating.
“I’m so thrilled with what Regent is doing,” says Founder, Chancellor and CEO, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson. “All of this shows the goodness of God. It’s tremendous how He is showering His blessings over this university. We are being blessed beyond measure, and we give Him praise for another year.”
Alumni World Changers
Founded as CBN University in 1978, this “school for God’s glory” celebrated its largest graduating class ever (1,976) in May 2018. Regent now has more than 25,000 alumni across the U.S. and in 97 other countries. University graduates are working in 61 of Forbes’ Top 100 companies, including Apple, Amazon, Disney and Lockheed Martin. Thirty-eight Regent alumni are sitting judges, and 51 have served as judges in the school’s history. Nine graduates and two students currently serve in their state legislatures, and nearly 900 are employed as faculty at 438 colleges and universities. Ten of our alumni are university presidents, and close to 900 are serving in the ministry as pastors or missionaries.
Notable alumni include Dr. Robert Dyer (SBL ’01), the newly elected mayor of Virginia Beach; and Kristen Waggoner, Esq. (LAW ’97), who serves as senior vice president of the U.S. legal division with Alliance Defending Freedom. In 2018, Waggoner argued and won two important, high-profile, religious liberty cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Kenton Lee (SBL ’10) won the 2018 Patents for Humanity Award from the United States Patent and Trade Office. Lee was recognized for creating an expandable shoe for needy children. His nonprofit, Because International, has distributed 175,000 pairs of The Shoe That Grows in more than 100 countries.
The university kicked off 2018 with Winter Storm Grayson on January 4. The historic bomb cyclone dropped nearly a foot of snow on Regent and turned the campus into a true winter wonderland. Before the month was over, the university would receive another high-profile visitor. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade spoke to a sold-out crowd at an Executive Leadership Series (ELS) event in the Regent Theatre. The well-known TV personality, radio host and best-selling author shared his insights on values, ethics and American exceptionalism. Kilmeade also highlighted his book, Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans.
In February, Regent hosted a pioneering cybersecurity summit that featured leading industry professionals. Panelists and attendees included those from Google, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Eastern Virginia Medical School. The summit concluded with an ELS luncheon at Founders Inn and Spa, featuring an eye-opening presentation by Kevin Mitnick, the world’s most-famous computer hacker.
That same month, popular Christian music artist Cory Asbury performed at a Regent “Night of Worship” (NOW) event, as his hit “Reckless Love” was climbing the charts to #1. Asbury also took time during his campus visit to record a music video of the song with the Regent University Singers. The video quickly went viral, generating more than 60,000 Facebook video views to date. The increased exposure has also opened new doors for the singers, including similar collaborations with popular Christian music artists Phil Wickham and Jason Gray. The Regent Singers also performed at a black-tie fundraiser alongside former contestants from the hit TV show The Voice and sang at Virginia Beach’s official Fourth of July celebration at the Oceanfront.
One of the biggest red-letter events of 2018 took place in September. The second annual Regent Royals Pep Rally kicked off the fall sports season at Robertson Field. Coaches and athletes, including members of the new men’s and women’s basketball teams, joined the student body for family-friendly sports clinics, food trucks, giveaways, a school-spirit contest and a Movie on the Lawn event.
In December, Regent closed out its event year by welcoming more than 35,000 guests to campus for the inaugural CBN Christmas Village. The university hosted the free, family-focused celebration that took place for six days over two weekends. Modeled after European Christmas markets, CBN’s village transformed the Regent mall with dazzling displays of Christmas lights, the area’s largest Christmas tree, a live nativity scene, Santa’s Workshop along with and other holiday attractions.
Leading in Cybersecurity
Regent’s cybersecurity program received a significant boost from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The high-profile government entities named the university a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. Regent is among only four percent of universities in the United States to receive this prestigious designation. Also, Regent has been chosen to teach Navy personnel cybersecurity warfare and is the preferred, cyber- defense training partner for members of the U.S. Air Force Combat Command stationed at Langley, Virginia.
“It is an immense honor for Regent to have received this prestigious distinction from the NSA and the DHS,” says Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño. “Regent will continue to advance education and training for industry-leading professionals to equip them to serve and lead in the cyber domain, as well as to protect the data of our nation’s government, infrastructure, businesses, and communities.”
“This recognition is a tribute to the excellence of our B.S. in Cybersecurity program, our faculty, students, and facilities. It recognizes Regent as a key player in cybersecurity education, not only in Virginia but in our nation,” adds Cheryl Beauchamp, College of Arts & Sciences’ Engineering & Computer Sciences professor and department chair.
Another significant accomplishment in the past year involves the university’s Institute for Cybersecurity, which created the Certified Cyber PractitionerTM (CCP) program to provide practical training for cyber professionals. The CCP program delivers three levels of cyber-defense training that integrate commercially recognized certification curricula with hands-on training, utilizing Regent’s multimillion-dollar cyber range. The training program is designed to lower the current 25-percent gap between demand for cyber-trained employees and the existing supply. It also helps address the predicted shortfall of 3.5 million cybersecurity professionals by 2021.
New Programs & Achievements
Included in its many academic accomplishments of 2018, Regent rolled out seven new degree programs as part of an innovative growth plan that targets significant market demand. Those additional programs bring the university’s academic offerings to more than 130 unique areas of study in some of the most advanced, high-demand disciplines available. They include cybersecurity, computer science, computer engineering, nursing, clinical psychology, and many others. Since 2015, Regent created 54 new programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, along with dozens of concentrations, representing a 70-percent increase. And over the past five years, the number of credit hours taught at the university has grown a historic 78 percent.
At the bachelor’s level, the 2018 program additions include computer engineering, systems engineering, management information systems, business analytics, and graphic arts. A nursing master’s program (MSN) was also introduced. Additional nursing programs, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice through the university’s College of Healthcare Sciences and School of Nursing, will follow.
Regent University’s RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program recently received accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the premier accreditation for baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing. Acknowledged by the United States Secretary of Education, the CCNE serves as the official accreditation arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
“Regent’s RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, School of Nursing, and College of Healthcare Sciences will serve as leading healthcare workforce development partners in our region and the nation,” Robertson explains. “We are delighted to receive this prestigious accreditation and grateful to our faculty for yet another excellent program-development achievement.”
Regent also now offers students the opportunity to prepare for certification in several key information technology (IT) areas. The certifications, which meet basic U.S. Department of Defense requirements, are key credentials for opening doors into industry positions. The university launched a “digital badges” pilot program in Fall 2018 and currently offers these micro credentials in approximately 50 areas of study.
By the start of 2019, School of Communication & the Arts alumni and students had earned more than 445 national and international film awards. This past year, Regent University again partnered with Hollywood actor, producer and director Corbin Bernsen and his production company, Home Theater Films, to produce a new feature film. Mary for Mayor features the work of several students who had roles on set as crew and actors. In October, a faith-based film co-written by successful screenwriter Cheryl McKay (SCA ’95) premiered in theaters across America. Indivisible depicts actual events in the life of U.S. Army Chaplain Darren Turner (SOD ’06) and his wife, Heather, as they fight to save their marriage during his service in the Iraq War.
“I’m so thankful for the ministry that God has given Regent University and for the partnership we share with so many others in equipping Christian leaders to change the world,” Robertson says. “This university is training students to believe in God and to put their hope and faith in Him. Our faculty and staff are equipping communicators, educators, ministers, business leaders, attorneys, psychologists, nurses, computer experts, and other professionals to do amazing things in service to the Lord and their fellow man.”
Alumnus Running for Senate in the Land of Lincoln
Former US Marine commander and RSG Alumnus Ben Bierly is a candidate for the Illinois State Senate in district 43, an area about 30 minutes southwest of Chicago.
Bierly says he is old fashioned about being in politics because he “feels an obligation to serve.” He feels equipped for politics, and this is where his heart lies. He said, “Political office when looked at properly, is a service to the state . . . and to the community.”
The slogan on his website reads, “Better Together.” His platform encompasses reducing taxes, pro-life and illegal immigration to address a few of his stances.
Bierly is a 20-year veteran who served in positions from company commander to senior logistics advisor to the 201st Corps Afghan National Army. He served two deployments to Afghanistan and one to Iraq. While in the service, he completed joint Regent University degrees in education and government in 2012, helping him prepare for this post military political phase of his life.
After Commencement, Bierly was not 100 percent certain on his direction. He taught High School Junior ROTC students in Romeoville, Illinois.
However, after three years of working with these students, he made a career transition. Bierly accepted various teaching positions at colleges near his home, as it was a better fit for his health and family commitments. He now serves as an adjunct professor of Government.
Bierly knew his number of years in the Marine Corp was dwindling as he approached his 20-year mark. He prayed regarding the next stage in his life. His decision to pursue joint degrees from Regent University has been an answer to prayer, preparing him for his multiple post-military life roles.
“Students have been equipped with knowledge, skills and abilities. They absolutely should and can make a difference. Take courage in what you do, as you have been equipped,” he said.
Military Scientist and Mom Becomes MPA Graduate
Recent Master of Public Administration student Janeen Mathies continued her education while serving as an Environmentalist Scientist in the 789th Medical Detachment (Preventive Medicine) unit, at Fort Story, Virginia.
Mathies oversees the administration, training, and fitness of employees of her unit as she “supervises a staff of 10 in provision of on-call public health and preventive medicine services.”
Previously she worked, as the Director of Environmental Health at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. There Mathies “supervised a staff of 10 in administration of public health and preventive medicine inspections and investigations relating to food, water, wastewater, habitability, and pest control for over 65 facilities across the National Capital Region (NCR), supporting a population of 250,000.”
Last summer, she finished military school and learned credits could transfer to civilian schools. Mathies began to research which universities would accept the credits; that’s when she found Regent. Her husband encouraged her to attend a school where she could pursue classes on campus as well as online. Regent was close enough to drive from her home. She felt a Master’s degree would help her to be more promotable. Mathies graduated after the summer 2019 term.
Mathies is also mom to both a toddler and newborn. She said, “You can get through anything. It has been a big challenge, with having a toddler, being pregnant and giving birth to a newborn during the mid-spring semester. With God’s help, you can get through anything.”
Regent Alum Takes Reins of Leadership for Best Coastal Community on the Atlantic
In the late 1990s, Bobby Dyer (SBL ’01) began investigating the possibility of attending Regent because he needed a Ph.D. to continue teaching physical therapy at Hampton University. What initially attracted him to Regent wasn’t the school’s academics or spiritual life. It was the university’s location.
“I wasn’t really walking with the Lord at that point,” Dyer admits. “I just went to Regent out of convenience. I lived less than two miles away. So, I applied and got in. But once I got in, I was immersed with some remarkable professors. … These folks were game changers. And then I was also immersed with students who did walk with the Lord, and I started growing into the environment.”
Dyer endured significant learning challenges as a child growing up in New Jersey, so his ability to earn a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from the School of Business & Leadership (SBL) is really quite remarkable.
“I actually had attention deficit disorder before they knew what it was. I was just known as a hyperactive kid with an overactive imagination,” he says. “As I got older, I got better. I did graduate from Regent with a good GPA, but it was a struggle and a journey.”
Three years after graduation, in 2004, Dyer won his first election to serve on the Virginia Beach City Council. A dedicated and popular public servant, he ran unopposed in three election cycles. But after 14 years in office, Dyer realized that God had bigger plans for him.
“In April 2018, the former mayor of Virginia Beach suddenly resigned,” he remembers. “And I honestly felt the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and tell me that I had to run. At the time, I had the safest seat in the city. … To run for mayor, I had to resign my seat. Had I lost, I would have had to vacate in December of last year.”
But Dyer didn’t lose. He won and was sworn in as the mayor of Virginia Beach, to serve out the term of the previous mayor, which expires on December 31, 2020.
“Regent was a very vital factor in not only my spiritual growth but my professional growth,” Dyer says. “Under the tutelage of SBL’s Dr. Bruce Winston, I learned what a healthy organization is. I learned effective communication, persuasion, conflict resolution and things of that nature. This is a job where you need a tremendous amount of emotional intelligence and people skills. … People can either complain about things or do something about them. That’s why I wanted to get involved in government — to make a difference.”
Regent University Receives High Marks in Study.com Ranking
This past month, Study.com released their Best Online Accredited Schools, a list in which they place Regent University #1 out of 50. What’s more, they ranked Regent in Best Online Master’s Degree Programs as #9 out of 50.
“These rankings highlight the excellent academic, instructional and support services available to Regent students,” said Dr. Gerson-Moreno-Riaño, executive vice president for academic affairs. “The university strives to deliver high-quality, engaging learning experiences that are designed to help our students succeed academically and professionally. Through our online programs, learners are being prepared to excel in the 21st century workplace and meet the challenges of today’s global society.”
Every month, Study.com estimates that more than 40 million visitors use their site to glean information on colleges and universities. They examine hundreds of schools as part of their annual ranking.
They describe Regent as having a “robust digital learning infrastructure,” and they praise the integration of technology in the university’s online courses that allows students to join live lectures and discussions.
“Study.com’s rankings are unique in that they emphasize accessibility, affordability, and quality of education, which we considered the most important attributes in our school rankings,” reads their site. “These online programs are the best of the best and any school found on this list would be an excellent choice for anyone looking to continue their educational journey.”
Dr. Stephen Perry was a guest expert on WSRE-TV’s program InStudio for their August 8, 2019, broadcast. The program is produced by the Pensacola, Florida, PBS station each week, and Perry served as a guest expert on early educational radio programming. The program is archived for viewing at here and also features Regent Adjunct Professor of Communication, Dr. Mary Myers. The program will be rebroadcast over WTIU-World, Channel 30.2, in Bloomington, Indiana on October 20, 2019.
Dr. Eric Patterson has been especially busy throughout the Summer. He spoke about religious liberty at breakfast reception at the Museum of the Bible. The event concluded a week-long effort around the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, an event led by the U.S. Department of State that drew 1,000 religious freedom advocates from across the globe. During his talk, Patterson shared “that a necessary component of a free society is the freedom of scripture.” He further explained that “religious people should be able to read their own scriptures publicly and privately, publish them, print commentaries on them, meet with co-religionists to study them, educate their children with them, and of course, share them with others.” Click here to read the full text.
Dr. Patterson spoke twice at Christ Church, Oxford as part of a Regent Faculty Grant in June. His first talk, to graduate students and faculty, was on his new book, Just American Wars (Routledge, 2019) and focused especially on issues that have to do with national honor as a justification for continuing to fight a war (i.e. Vietnam). His second talk was part of a symposium led by world-renowned theologian and just war scholar, Nigel Biggar. Patterson discussed the issue of “military necessity” in the law of armed conflict and its place in moral reasoning about national security. Patterson met on the sidelines of the conference with two co-authors in preparation for forthcoming books on Christian views of war, peace, and security.
Dr. Patterson’s article, “The Treaty of Versailles and Religious Freedom” was published in the June issue of Providence magazine. To read the full article, please click here.
While Dr. Patterson continues to serve as a Scholar-at-Large for the Robertson School of Government, he was also named as Executive Vice President for the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI). Click here to read the full press release.
Dr. Mary Manjikian spoke to the Hampton Roads Institute for Learning in Retirement on Monday, August 12. The title of her talk was “Getting Ready for the Age of Robotics” and it covered policy and ethical issues related to technological advances in the fields of artificial intelligence, Big Data and autonomy. The audience enjoyed a lively debate and looks forward to another engaging presentation next year.
Dr. Gary Roberts attended the Academy of Management Conference in Boston serving on a sponsored panel by the Management, Spirituality and Religion Section focusing on inclusive leadership practices. Dr. Roberts presented a summary of his research on servant leadership in human resource management based upon his recent books and articles. He emphasized the foundational Christian worldview foundation of servant leadership and its universal applicability across cultures. The audience followed-up with insightful questions that facilitated more in-depth discussion on the nuances of implementing servant leadership in challenging organizational environments.
Dr. Roberts also coauthored an article with Dr. Stephen King and Dr. Elijah Agyapong which has been published in the Journal of Public Affairs Education. The article focused on teaching ethics in Master of Public Administration programs.
Dr. Elijah Agyapong attended the Oxford Education Research Symposium, which was held at the Harris Manchester College, Oxford, UK. The symposium is a forum for academic discourses and paper presentations on universal education. About 50 international scholars from eleven countries, spanning Canada to Australia, participated in this summer’s symposium. Dr. Agyapong presented his research on ways to improve girls’ education in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa broadly.
His presentation generated interesting discussions among the group of international scholars, and the symposium committee has invited him to submit a version of the paper for peer review and publication in either the Journal of Academic Perspectives or the Forum on Public Policy. After the conference, Dr. Agyapong spent some personal time wandering through the historical edifices of Oxford (e.g., the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford Museum, etc.) before returning to the states early August.
In addition to participating in the Oxford Education Research Symposium, Dr. Agyapong worked on several projects during summer. He coauthored an article with Dr. Stephen King and Dr. Gary Roberts on “teaching ethics in Master of Public Administration programs,” which has been published in the Journal of Public Affairs Education. As summer winds down, he is wrapping up another major research project for publication. Dr. Agyapong was also appointed to the editorial board of the Journal of Public Policy and Administration.
Dr. Andrew Nolte is currently working on the thirtieth anniversary edition of A World Without Tyranny, a scholarly yet accessible primer on international politics from a Christian world view perspective, along with the original author, Dr. Dean C. Curry. The new edition both expands on the original version’s material on biblical principles and historical applications of Christian world view thinking in the international arena and addresses new, post-war challenges such as radical Islamic terrorism, globalization, and emerging twenty-first-century threats. Dr. Nolte and Dr. Curry are currently in the process of seeking a publisher and hope for a publication date in late 2020.
Practitioner-in-Residence, Sam Gaston, spoke to the team at the Birmingham, AL office of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood (GMC) on the topic of Community Building. GMC is one of the largest architecture and engineering firms in the Southeast with offices located throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. GMC takes great pride in serving communities through transformative work with every project guided by the principal that communities are built by people, not companies.