Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
Summer is here! Although the campus slightly slows down, we still offer more than a dozen summer courses in the Robertson School of Government and we are staying busy with teaching, scholarship, and work toward special accreditation of our Master of Public Administration (MPA) program through NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration).
I am proud to report that we recently hosted the second generation of our national advisory board for the MPA. The board includes alumni like Larry Mayes (Catholic Charities of Boston), city leaders like Sheldon Hudson and Kenneth Chandler, and Hampton Roads Transit’s Brian Smith as well as other professionals like the City of Norfolk’s Dr. Susan Perry. Our faculty team and board had an intensive set of meetings about curriculum and planning for accreditation, with a focus both on student learning and job preparation.
In this edition of our newsletter you will also meet Tanny Simmons (MPA, ’18) who received a scholarship from the American Society for Public Administration and alumnus Kevin Mooney who is teaching a course on Political Communication this summer. Many of you know Kevin Mooney for his insightful investigative reporting and writing for The Washington Examiner, The Heritage Foundation, and other outlets.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Faculty Story: Introducing Adjunct Professor and RSG Alumnus, Kevin Mooney
Kevin Mooney is an investigative reporter and author who writes for several publications based in the Washington D.C. area. He earned his M.A. from Regent University in 2006. He is currently an investigative reporter with The Daily Signal, the online line multimedia news publication of The Heritage Foundation. He also writes for National Review, The Daily Caller, Forbes Magazine, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, The Weekly Standard and The Capital Research Center. Kevin has also worked with several free market think tanks associated with The State Policy Network including The Pelican Institute in New Orleans and the Rhode Island Center for Freedom Prosperity. Prior to joining The Daily Signal, Kevin also reported for CNSNews.com, Breitbart.com and The Blaze.
For summer 2017, Mr. Mooney is co-teaching a class on Political Communication with RSG Dean Eric Patterson. The course is structured like a traditional graduate course on the “theory” of political communication in a democracy but includes major doses of “practice” based on Mooney’s many years of successful reporting. Dean Patterson says, “Our students are very fortunate to have a practitioner like Mr. Mooney teach in this course. He is enthusiastic, thoughtful, and nuanced. Students will be delighted by his stories but also challenged by his calls for rigor, truth, and excellence.”
Kevin specializes in reporting on the environmental movement, its impact on economic activity and new scientific data that questions the premise of man-made global warming. Another special area of interest concerns the actions of organized labor and its impact on public policy and the free market. But he is perhaps best known for his reporting on the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Kevin was the first to report on the taxpayer funding made available to ACORN in midst of voter fraud activity that involved ACORN and its operatives in the 2008 election cycle.
Prior to arriving in Washington D.C., Kevin worked as a reporter for the Trenton Times and Forbes Newspapers in New Jersey. He also held editorial positions with Dow Jones and Company and Bloomberg News in Princeton, NJ.
Student Story: Taniesha “Tanny” Simmons (MPA ’18) receives ASPA Scholarship
On Thursday, May 18, the Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (HR-ASPA) awarded their Chapter scholarship to Taniesha “Tanny” Simmons (MPA, 2018), Robertson School of Government.
The scholarship recognizes excellence in public service and takes into consideration work experience, extracurricular activities in civic and community development, career goals and overall academic performance when choosing a candidate. Simmons proved to exceed all expectations. As a Master of Public Administration (MPA) student at Regent, Simmons hopes the award brings more recognition to the program.
“I love getting to talk about the program,” Simmons said. “For what I want to do in city administration and management, policy analysis, evaluation and implementation, you need something that is really hands on — the MPA provides that.”
Simmons grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, and moved to Hampton Roads to obtain a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations with a concentration in Russian affairs from Old Dominion University. In 2015, she was an intern at the U.N. General Assembly and worked for Virginia Sen. John Cosgrove and Delegate Jay Leftwich in Chesapeake. It was during her time there that she grew a passion for public service.
“I saw how people interact with the state and local government,” Simmons said. “I saw that you can really start and complete a project, and then see what it looks like directly on the front line, and I just didn’t think I’d get that on the federal level.”
After finishing her internship and graduating, Simmons was offered a job in enrollment management at Regent. She began the job in August 2015 and enrolled in the master’s in government program two months later. In January 2016, Simmons transitioned into the MPA program to better align her studies and long-term goal of one day becoming the governor of Virginia.
“I think it’s really important to understand how policies affect your state and local entities, such as how funding works, how administrators comply with a poorly passed bill and how you should provide services that are efficient and affect people positively,” Simmons said. “The behind-the-scenes things are really important to grasp.”
In addition to her studies and work, Simmons is a student member of the HR-ASPA, and she is also the president of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) student chapter locally. She was nominated for the scholarship award by professor and MPA coordinator Dr. Gary E. Roberts.
“Tanny is an exceptionally engaging, talented and mature student who possesses a passionate commitment to public service,” Roberts stated in his nomination letter. “She is a woman of exceptional moral character and is a recognized leader both within her work unit as an enrollment management processor and within the MPA student body.”
Regent University Celebrates Largest Graduating Class at 2017 Commencement Ceremony
After an academic year of record-breaking enrollment, Regent University celebrated its largest-ever class of graduates at the 2017 University Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 6.
More than 1,900 students graduated, with over 1,100 on campus for festivities, representing the Robertson School of Government, College of Arts & Sciences (CAS); School of Business & Leadership (SBL); School of Communication & the Arts (SCA); School of Education (SOE); School of Divinity (DIV); School of Law (LAW); and School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC). The graduates are part of Regent’s 23,000+ alumni family.
Regent University Founder, Chancellor and CEO Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson gave a special charge to this year’s graduates, asking them to remember to abide in Jesus Christ and allow God’s word to “attach” and “dwell” within their lives. Living in this way, according to Robertson, will “get prayers answered.”
“If you dwell in Him and His word dwells in you, then nothing will be impossible for you. You’re going into a difficult world, but I want you to know that the Lord Jesus is in control of it; this is still my Father’s world,” said Robertson. “The motto of this university is very simple: ‘Christian leadership to change the world.’ It’s a big task, but I believe that we’re going to do it.”
Changing the world starts with a significant accomplishment, according to Phil Walker, chairman of Regent’s Board of Trustees. While he recognized the achievement of graduates, he encouraged them to remember those who helped them get there.
“It’s important to acknowledge the contributions of the faculty and staff of Regent University and applaud the support of your families,” said Walker. “Most importantly, give praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for what He’s done in your lives while you were here. I challenge you to be leaders in our state and nation – may God bless each and every one of you and your endeavors.”
Regent School of Divinity Dean and the 2017 University Commencement Speaker Dr. Corné Bekker delivered his address acknowledging the vastly changing world, especially with regard to the invention of the internet.
And while graduates today have unlimited access to the history of the world at their fingertips, he challenged graduates to “run the race of endurance,” and forego the temptation to make their own names great. Instead, he asked them to remember seven lessons from the Apostle Paul: saying “yes” to the Lord, trusting in His word, and making Christ their message.
“Put your life on the foundation of the Word of God and you will flourish. We live in a world where everyone is tempted with an individual message,” said Bekker. “But we have a noble message, a powerful message: the message of Christ … May this generation be one where individual names fall away and the name of Christ be lifted up.”
Bekker continued, asking graduates not to be afraid or dream small, to value humility and “go forth and make Christ’s name great,” and to bear in mind 2 Timothy 4:7, fighting the “good fight” until the very end.
“Graduates, you have been entrusted with a noble charge, a high call and an eternal message: do not be afraid, never shrink back, Trust in God. Your future is bright because he’s already there,” said Bekker. “Go forth and run this race for Him.”
Following the presentation of graduates and conferring of degrees, two ROTC Army Cadets received their commissions. The ceremony closed with a benediction from Robertson, and the release of nearly 40 pounds of blue and green confetti to commemorate the anticipated event.
U.S. Army TRADOC Band in Concert at Regent University
Standing in the front of the beautiful Regent University Chapel, Major Randy Bartel, Commander and Conductor of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band (TRADOC), led his band in a great night of patriotism and music appreciation. The TRADOC Band from Fort Eustis traveled to celebrate Armed Forces Day with a free, open to the public, concert. Filling the Chapel with over 400 patrons, the band shared not only a talent for music, but also a love for country and community. Before the start of the concert the Chapel was buzzing with excited men and women as they gathered together once again to share in the evening’s recognition of service, both past and present.
The audience enjoyed patriotic and American classics such as: The Stars & Stripes Forever, America the Brave, Dress Blues, God of Our Fathers, Molly on the Shore, and Shenandoah – Ragged Old Flag. The Band welcomed to the podium, Lt. Col. Eric Patterson (Air National Guard), Dean of the Robertson School of Government, as guest conductor. Under Patterson’s baton, the band played two favorites arranged by legendary composer and arranger Sammy Nestico: Stardust and Malagueña.
One of the final pieces, the Armed Forces Salute, was a highlight of the night, asking both service members and their families to stand according to the anthem which represented their branch. Standing tall, Major Bartel snapped to attention, saluting as each group of men and women stood. The final piece, The Stars & Stripes Forever, drew enthusiastic rounds of applause from the audience, bringing the night to a close. With many shared stories, smiles, and handshakes, Regent University and the U.S. Army TRADOC Band once again brought together members of the community in celebration of those who place their lives on the line for the cause of American liberty and freedom.
Dr. Manjikian leads RSG & Law Students as they Travel to Moscow and St. Petersburg for First-hand, Eye-Opening Experience in Russia’s Two Historic Seats of Government
RSG & Law Students accompanied RSG’s Associate Dean, Mary Manjikian, who had served in the US Embassy as a Foreign Service Office in Moscow previously, on a fascinating EF (Education First) Study Tour of Russia. The Study Tour took place immediately following the first offering of RSG’s Russian History & Politics Course in Spring 2017. During the course, students studied Russia’s history and culture as well as the transition from Communism to what some would describe as an “illiberal democracy” and others (including many Russian citizens) describe as Russia’s own, non-Western version of democracy.
A visit to the Slavic Center for Law & Justice (SCLJ) in Moscow, a branch of the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), was one of the highlights of the tour. The group was hosted in SCLJ’s Moscow offices by an SCLJ attorney Stanislaus Kulov, who described cases related to religious freedom in Russia after the recent passing of the “Religious Extremism” law in Russia. In 2005, the SCLJ was successful in representing and reversing sanctions and banning of The Salvation Army in Russia, whose property and funds had been confiscated, when the case was taken to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). So, there is perhaps some hope that individuals and churches could be assisted by appealing to international courts such as the ECHR. Russia has laws both on religious extremism and on religious freedom, and navigating where they differ and overlap is challenging.
The Russia Study Tour group also visited many cultural sites, including The Kremlin, Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, and spoke with journalists. The group also attended a lecture at the European University of St. Petersburg on the debate about how Russian history is portrayed by the state and other venues after the transition from Communism began in 1991. In St. Petersburg, the group visited historic sites including the Museum of Russian Politics, which featured Russia under Communism, as well as before The Bolshevik Revolution and since the break-up of the Soviet Union. In addition, the group visited historic churches that have been restored since 1991, after being used as museums or partially destroyed under Communist control in both St. Petersburg and Moscow. Dean Patterson reflected, “I appreciate all of Dr. Manjikian’s work on this trip. Many of our students have never travelled abroad and this was a significant learning opportunity, particularly during these dynamic times.”
Dr. Jeffry Morrison joins Christopher Newport University
It is with sadness and pride that the Robertson School bids farewell to Professor Jeffry Morrison after sixteen years of superior service. Professor Morrison has accepted a full professorship with tenure at Virginia’s Christopher Newport University.
Professor Morrison’s career at Regent has been distinguished, including the exclusive Chancellor’s Award (faculty member of the year) in 2007. He is the author or co-editor of five books, most recently The Reagan Manifesto: A Time for Choosing and Its Influence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). The majority of his scholarship has been on the ideas that undergird the early American Republic and he is known as the foremost scholar on John Witherspoon. His previous books include The Political Philosophy of George Washington, The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life, John Witherspoon and the Founding of the American Republic, and The Founders on God and Government.
One of Dr. Morrison’s former students, Nathan Gill, writes, “During my two years at Regent, Dr. Morrison’s teaching became the embodiment of what the university stands for: integrating faith and reason. He was the living, breathing proof that it could be done, that fearless inquiry and deep reverence are two expressions of the same love for God’s truth. His enthusiasm, wit and wisdom were contagious, challenging, and remain the single greatest influence on my academic life.” Nathan Gill was RSG Graduate of the Year (2013) and is now finishing his doctorate at Hillsdale College.
Professor Morrison came to Regent with superior academic credentials. He graduated with distinction from Boston College and from Georgetown University, where he earned the M.A. and Ph.D. in government. He has taught at Princeton, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and guest lectured across the country on issues of church-state relations, constitutional interpretation, First Amendment issues, and contemporary politics. He serves as Academic Director of the U.S. government’s James Madison Foundation in Alexandria, VA.
Professor Morrison is much beloved by students and colleagues. Over the years he has filled many leadership roles, including service as associate dean, founding director of the Oxford Program, M.A. program chair, and on the faculty senate. As Associate Professor Caramine White observes, “Dr. Jeffry Morrison has a beautiful mind, and I mean that in the most positive way. Those not well acquainted with Dr. Morrison are still aware of his being both a brilliant scholar of government and an exceptional professor, to which his five books and numerous awards attest. His appreciative students and colleagues admire his extraordinary wit (even if we don’t always get his jokes), his insightful and perceptive lectures and discussions, and his uncanny ability to mimic languages and mannerisms. His close friends value his tender heart, loyalty, honesty, acceptance and genuine appreciation of who we are. And his very close friends are just lucky that he is a very close friend.”
On behalf of all at the Robertson School of Government, congratulations and best wishes to Professor Morrison!
Why the Church Should be Incorporated with Professor Steve Lentz, Esq.
The Robertson School of Government hosted an informative community nonprofit education event with the Nonprofit Startup Center founded by Regent University MBA student, Calherbe Monel, entitled “Why Should the Church be Incorporated” featuring international nonprofit expert and Adjunct Regent University Law Professor, Stephen Lentz. Professor Lentz presented a very detailed summary of the legal and management benefits produced by the incorporation process. Following the presentation, RSG MPA Program Director Dr. Gary Roberts moderated a question and answer session that provided additional insight and elaboration of the key concepts discussed.
This event took place under the auspices of Regent’s Master of Public Administration program. One of the largest growth areas for the MPA is in the area of non-profit management, because those in the non-profit sector so often work directly with government agencies. Indeed, many RSG alumni transfer between government and non-profit service, such as an alum who went from political activism to working at the U.S. Agency for International Development to teaching and then to a think tank. Another alumna works directly with federal agencies like HUD and HHS in serving homeless people through her non-profit. Dr. Roberts says, “The non-profit area includes millions of Americans, serving from soup kitchens to churches to administering huge federal grants. We want to train these servant leaders to be as competent as possible in this dynamic arena.”
Dr. Manjikian participates in the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association
In June, Dr. Mary Manjikian participated in the AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association) Conference on Defensive Cyber Operations, held in Baltimore, MD. She notes that one of the event highlights was a speech by Dr. Steven Walker, acting Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Dr. Walker addressed developments in the areas of authentication, virtual networks, and military cyber doctrine.
She also attended a panel with representatives from all of the different armed services where they talked about service-specific cybersecurity challenges. She looks forward to being more actively involved in the Hampton Roads chapter of AFCEA. This summer, Dr. Manjikian is teaching a course on cybersecurity policy; her new book on cybersecurity ethics will be published later this year.
Dr. Morrison on George Washington’s Constitutional Leadership
Dean Patterson on Bernie Sanders shouting at Christian
- New Student Orientation – August 17, 2017