Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
As the semester winds down, allow me to thank those of you who support the Robertson School of Government through your giving, friendship, and prayers. We value your partnership! In this edition of our newsletter, you will see our students, faculty, and alumni partnering with others to advance the common good. For instance, you’ll meet alumna Dr. Abby Sellers, who inspires students at Azusa Pacific University, and student Sarah Enders who is working on a major research project as an intern at the U.S. Coast Guard. You will also see faculty leading and serving, such as Dr. Manjikian’s work on Regent’s university-wide cybersecurity initiative, Admiral Baucom coaching our new WorldQuest team, and our professionals in residence engaging with foreign public administrators through NASPAA. This is what we model and teach at the Robertson School of Government: Christian leaders who change the world do so by inspiring and teaming with others.
At this festive time, all of us at the Robertson School of Government wish you God’s blessing, joy, and direction in your life and work.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Alumni Story: Abbylin Sellers (MA ’02)
Abbylin Sellers was born in South Korea, and was adopted by a loving American family at relatively young age. She was given a number of opportunities that she would not otherwise have been given had she not come to the United States. Sellers has developed her talent as a soprano vocalist, orchestral percussionist, classical ballet dancer, and several other creative pursuits. One of the most influential opportunities that her American family gave her was an education. She was able to attend Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. During that time, she also worked with Focus on the Family as an intern in the public policy department. Her time with Focus on the Family was the most formative in igniting her interest in public policy and shaping culture.
Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree, she attended the Regent University Robertson School of Government to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy. She excelled in this program and received the Outstanding Research Award. Following her graduate work, she felt led to pursue a teaching career. This would provide opportunities for her to teach government and encourage students to be informed and engaged citizens. She taught at the high school level, but during that time it was apparent that her skill set and desire to function as an educator would be better suited for a higher education level. She then pursued a doctoral degree at Claremont Graduate University in Political Science with concentrations in American Politics and Public Policy.
Currently, Dr. Sellers is an Associate Professor of American Politics at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. In her role, she aims to teach students to think critically, analyze ideas, and be open to differing viewpoints. She believes it is important that we learn to engage in civil discourse with those who disagree. Sellers says that “disagreeing has become a lost art form.” It is her hope that the students will gain a variety of perspectives and be able to respectfully disagree. This will allow them to think about their role in civic engagement and how they can have a positive influence on their world around them.
Sellers goes beyond being a professor, she is a faculty mentor for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Executive Council, Koch Fellows Program, and Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society. In her short time at Azusa Pacific University, she has already been recognized for her excellence. She received the Excellence Award for superior teaching evaluations, student engagement, and mentoring beyond the classroom. Dr. Sellers is an amazing testimony to what the Robertson School of Government desires to accomplish in teaching their students. She is one of the many students who have carried on to be leaders to change the world.
Student Story: Sarah Enders (MA ’18)
Sarah Enders (MA ’18) comes to Regent University from Spotsylvania, VA. Her passion for government began in elementary school and continued to grow through high school. As a result, she received her BS in Government: Politics, and Policy from Liberty University and in currently enrolled in the MA Government program at Regent University and is on track to graduation in May 2018.
Following graduation, Enders began working as an intern for the Coast Guard with the National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC) in DC. The NPFC is committed to protecting America’s environment by preventing, responding to, and paying or oil pollution. The position allows her to work with one of the divisions that adjudicates natural resource claims. She conducts research to provide management with suggestions of positions that should be held regarding the natural resource restoration claims.
Sarah’s passion for government has specifically grown into the field of environmental and natural policy. Her MA in Government from Regent University’s Robertson School of Government (RSG) will help equip and prepare her to work in this field. During her time at Regent, Enders has been challenged by her classes, especially American Politics and American Political Thought. She has been amazed by the diversity and knowledge of the RSG professors who guide students to a critical understanding of government. RSG provides a unique opportunity to learn from people who have been in positions that students desire to attain.
RSG Hosts U.S. Army TRADOC Band Holiday Concert
Performing for a full house in Regent University’s Chapel, the U.S. Army TRADOC Band presented a selection of inspiring, light-hearted, and moving holiday music. Sgt. Michael Cohen kicked off the concert with an oboe solo of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” As the oboist played, musicians entered from every corner of the chapel until they were lining the aisles of the room. The audience was enthralled as they were surrounded by the stunning arrangement.
The concert continued with songs from the classical “Carol of the Drum” to the whimsical “Frosty the Snowman,” offering a diverse taste and range of holiday arrangements for all ages. Some of the music was written by band members. Sgt. Andre Badeaux performed a beautiful new number, “Midnight at Christmas,” a song he and conductor, Major Randy Bartel wrote and arranged. The audience even participated in a rousing holiday sing-along and were treated to visits from the Grinch and Santa Claus himself.
The Saturday, December 9, performance was made possible by the band’s connection to the Dean of the Robertson School of Government, Dr. Eric Patterson, who also serves as commander of the Air National Guard Band of the Southwest (Ft. Worth, Texas). Dr. Patterson invites the TRADOC band to perform at Regent each year. “The TRADOC Band is not only entertaining, but inspiring. Its musicians remind us of how great our country is through the power of musical artistry,” said Patterson.
Major General Paul Benenati, Deputy Chief of Staff of the TRADOC Band, greeted the audience and shared that many of our troops are away from home over the holidays but also noted that, “Christmas miracles can happen anywhere, at any time, because Christmas means a lot more than where you are on December 25th,” and “No matter where they are, the warmth of the season and the fact that Christmas Day represents something bigger than all of us, is evident.” To illustrate, Benenati shared the story of British and German troops at war in 1914. On Christmas Eve, the German troops brought their bands to join the Soldiers in the trenches to celebrate Christmas. They began singing Christmas carols and invited the British to join them. The two sides came together, erected a Christmas tree, shared their rations, played soccer, and even posed together for photos. For one day, enemies stopped fighting to recognize, honor, and share Christmas.
Speaking of the TRADOC band members, Major General Benenati noted that, “All of the performers in front of you are Soldiers. They do what Soldiers do, they meet all the same requirements of every other Soldier and are even given a combat mission to defend the headquarters if needed. They represent some of the most talented musicians we have in our great United States. They have just chosen to serve in uniform and bring joy to others in places like this, but also in places where no one would ever choose to go, under some of the most dangerous conditions imaginable.”
The U.S. Army TRADOC Band serves as musical and ceremonial support of the trainers of America’s Soldiers and to bring their stories to the American people. The TRADOC Band performs numerous concerts in support of local, regional and national events, including festivals, parades, and both city and state commemorations. The band also supports military ceremonies on and off Fort Eustis.
RADM Larry Baucom (USN, ret.) Leads First Annual Regent Team in WorldQuest Competition
Regent University was well represented at WorldQuest 2017 as the first annual student team placed third among six college level teams, inched out by only a few points by another local college team (last year’s winner). RSG was proud to host the team who, along with our team coach, RADM Larry Baucom (USN, ret.) performed admirably. The students are already excited about next year’s competition and possibly having a faculty team participate as well. “Coach” Baucom, who serves as Professional in Residence at RSG, commented, “It was a fun filled evening with over 220 competitors from all over Hampton Roads and many there commented on how glad they were to have a Regent team in the competition.” Congratulations and thank you to Admiral Baucom and team members, Jacquelyn Alazas, Kayla Babitz, Michaela Bonner, Bruce Carson, Austin, Olzeski, Ethan Perez, Peter Purcell, and Tony Riley.
“The Best Time of the Day is When the Cash Registers Aren’t Ringing”: Mission BBQ Co-Founder Shares the “Why” Behind His Food
The clock strikes noon.
At any other restaurant in the nation, lunch hour traffic is at its peak.
But for two minutes at every Mission BBQ location, work stops. Employees and patrons alike stand at attention for the playing of the National Anthem.
“Our best two minutes of the day are when those cash registers aren’t ringing,” said Bill Kraus, co-founder of the BBQ restaurant. He shared the “why” behind the patriotic mission of his business at Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series on Thursday, November 29.
“If you put on the cloth of our nation to fight and keep us free and keep us safe, you really are the ‘why’ behind what we do at Mission BBQ,” said Kraus. “We’re going to make sure that you’re well-fed, but at the same time we’re going to give you some food for your soul. And every day, that National Anthem is indicative of that.”
It’s also indicative of a successful business model. The chain restaurant currently has 55 locations; and Kraus anticipates doubling that number within the next two years – all without a drive-thru, freezer or microwave on the premises of any of their stores.
Founded, with every ounce of intention, on the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, Mission BBQ goes beyond merely selling food, but seeks to honor those who serve in the Armed Forces and first responders. Frequently, store locations adorn their walls with relics from those who’ve lost their lives in service.
“They’re what I’ll call ‘priceless pieces of art,’” said Kraus. “There’s patches, there’s pictures, there’s stories of heroes, stories of service, stories of good. And in it all, we step back and say, ‘What a privilege this is to serve a community like this.’”
Beyond honoring the memories of those who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty, Mission BBQ donates an estimated 3 million dollars a year to various nonprofits geared toward military, fire or police organizations.
Mission BBQ’s latest initiative, which began in its Virginia Beach market, is feeding American troops located throughout the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. Their food is smoked, cooled, frozen and packed stateside and loaded onto a military transport.
Four to six days later, Kraus gets an email or text that simply reads “mission accomplished.”
“All I know is that at night, I’m selfishly sleeping in my own bed, but there are some wonderful American heroes that aren’t,” said Kraus. “They’re half a world away, but at least they got a little taste of home.”
And though he’s never had first-hand experience in the military, through his life’s work he’s learned that there are a multitude of ways to serve and give back.
“We believe that some of the finest memories are shared when gathered around the table,” said Kraus. “It’s why we want to continue to build these places with these tables and provide food and service to hopefully bring communities together.”
Dr. Manjikian selected to CYBER10 Team
has been selected from a pool of nominees to serve on the CYBER10 team, a new 10-member group of Regent faculty members from across the university. CYBER10 will serve under the direction of Dr. Deva Henry, executive director for Regent’s Institute for Cybersecurity. Dr. Henry’s impressive background as a systems engineer in various national and international industries and scenarios will provide a leading edge approach to the university’s future systems engineering degree program as well as to the institute’s industry-facing cybersecurity training strategy, approach and deliverables. CYBER10 will serve in an advisory capacity to advance key institute strategies under the leadership of Dr. Henry and in careful coordination with the Office of Academic Affairs. This coordinated collaboration will also yield key initiatives that will benefit the university’s schools. Dr. Manjikian is well poised to advance Regent’s cybersecurity programs, with her teaching expertise in this field and a new book published in November, Cybersecurity Ethics. Congratulations to Dr. Manjikian and all team members!
Dr. Gary Roberts shares his latest work at NASPAA Conference
Dr. Gary Roberts presented a summary of his latest work on servant leadership on a panel focusing on restoring trust in government at the annual Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) conference in Washington D.C. The presentation summarized the alarming erosion of trust in governmental institutions along with lower government sector citizen performance satisfaction levels. The erosion of trust and low performance satisfaction are directly linked to an absence of effective leadership. The presentation summarized the impressive empirical evidence on how servant leadership enhances beneficial employee attitudinal, behavioral and performance outcomes. These results emphasize the important of moral leadership in changing public perceptions in restoring trust.
RADM Larry Baucom (USN, ret.) shares the Ethical Challenges he faced during his Naval Career
Adm. Larry Baucom has had his share of challenges during his military career. Recently, he had the opportunity to share his expertise in handling those challenges with character and integrity as the guest speaker in the RSG series, “Defense Against the Dark Arts.” Baucom spoke on the need for speed in making split-second decisions where the consequences could mean the difference between great success and utter failure. In the case of piloting a fighter jet, quick decisions could be to raise the elevation of the aircraft to avoid potential danger, turning to attack the enemy, or getting away safely. In these types of situations, Baucom said, “Leaders must do what’s right at all times” and that, “People want to work for a leader who has character, integrity, and values.” Baucom applied these notions to far more complicated, corporate ethical challenges, most notably the Tailhook scandal of the 1990s. Baucom noted that leaders take charge of concerns in a moral and ethical manner and, when dealing with a mistake, he shared Coach Bear Bryant’s adage to “Admit it, Learn from it, and Don’t do it again.” According to Adm. Baucom, “Character development must begin early, become engrained in a person, and gives a person the ability to make wise decision.”
Dr. Manjikian Participates in Cyberwar Podcast
Dr. Manjikian recently participated in a podcast for the tech news site “Defrag This,” on the subject of the new US-Russian Cold War in cyberspace. She discussed Russian disinformation from an historic perspective, as well as the connection between fake news and situational awareness. Enjoy the podcast here: https://blog.ipswitch.com/the-great-cyber-war
Practitioners-in-Residence Attend ICMA Conference
Professor Sam Gaston and Dr. Ed Daley, RSG Practitioners-in-Residence, recently attend ICMA’s 104th Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The conference theme, Building Bridges: Serving Our Whole Community, served as an umbrella for several significant issues including international efforts and sustainability.
ICMA entered into contract work with USAID almost twenty years ago. The focus of this work was economic development but other issues such as sustainability were part of the discussions. An informal group began meeting to discuss international issues during this time frame. Earlier this year, the International Committee met in the Dominican Republic and the 2018 meeting will be in Tel Aviv, Israel. ICMA now works throughout the globe, with an international office in Europe, a third international representative sits on the Executive Board, and 141 representatives from 23 countries attended this year’s conference.
Parallel to this effort, a small group met to discuss environmental issues impacting local government twenty years ago. This effort has emerged as ICMA’s Sustainable Communities Advisory Committee with international membership. The San Antonio conference included speakers, workshops, and roundtable discussions related to environmental, fiscal, and social issues impacting our global communities. The extensive overlap between these two efforts was obvious as international committee members presented workshops on sustainability and other municipal practices throughout the globe.
Study Abroad in Europe: Fourth Informational Meeting
RSG students are headed back to Europe in 2018. Earlier this month, Dr. Agyapong and Dr. Manjikian organized the fourth Informational Meeting for RSG’s study abroad tour to Europe. Students were introduced to the study abroad program, which is part of a one-credit special topics course on “Government and Politics in Europe” to be offered in summer 2018. The course can be applied toward the MA, MPA, and JD degrees, and includes a two-week study abroad tour in late May 2018 to Europe (London, The Hague, Brussels, and Paris). The tour component is open to all students, faculty, and staff of Regent University. For more information about the program, visit the tour organizer’s website (click here). All other inquiries about the program may be directed to Dr. Agyapong at email@example.com or Dr. Manjikian at firstname.lastname@example.org.