RSG Newsletter – October 2017


Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner

Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.Dear Friends,

Regent University continues to lead.  You will see that in this edition of our newsletter, from the opening of a state-of-the-art cyber range that is second to none at universities across America, to students engaging faculty like former U.S. Congressman Randy Forbes, to our recent ranking among the top three Virginia schools for excellence in online education.

We are proud of these achievements, and it is our talented faculty, students, alumni and staff that make it possible.  For instance, alumnus Gary Marx—a veteran of numerous political campaigns—spoke to students about how to be effective and competitive without moral compromise in today’s electoral environment.  Marx, co-founder of Madison Strategies, shared details from the nitty-gritty of grassroots activism to the fast-paced world of social media activism.

Warm regards,

Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor

Learn about RSG

Watch the “Get to Know RSG” video.

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For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.


Recent Events

The Honorable J. Randy Forbes Gives Senator A. Willis Robertson Lecture on Virginia Politics

The Honorable J. Randy Forbes.

On Wednesday, September 19 the Honorable J. Randy Forbes, a Regent University Fellow and former U.S. Congressman from Virginia, spoke to a group of students and faculty at the annual Senator A. Willis Robertson Lecture.

The Robertson Lecture, hosted by the Robertson School of Government, is a celebration of the legacy of servant leadership and integrity found in Senator Absalom Willis Robertson, the father of Regent’s founder, chancellor and CEO, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson.

Senator Absalom Willis Robertson had a distinguished career marked by leadership and sacrifice.  He served in the U.S. Army before going on to represent his fellow Virginians for forty years in the Senate of Virginia, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate.

“My father was a man of impeccable personal integrity, and he had a work ethic that was extraordinary,” said Robertson of his late father.  “He never forgot the fact that he was a servant of the people, and the concerns of his constituents were foremost in his mind.”

In January 2017, Forbes became a Regent University Fellow — a valuable addition to the university’s team.  “Adding Congressman Forbes to Regent’s faculty roster aligns well with our university’s strategic goals,” said Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, Regent’s executive vice president for academic affairs.

Besides his work as a fellow at Regent, Forbes is also a fellow at the U.S. Naval War College.

In his lecture, “The Future of Public Service in Virginia Politics,” Forbes discussed his own experience in Virginia politics and how people can maintain their beliefs while remaining civil and finding common ground — something he said is becoming increasingly less common.

Forbes said hatred has taken the place of patriotism as the “primary energy in politics.”  He believes if Americans fail to maintain civility within political institutions, the consequences are dire.  “I would submit there is a direct correlation between the reduction in faith and the rise in hatred,” he said.  “If we don’t change that, then we are going to have a different America because America is important, it has a destiny, its destiny is to do good in the world, and the essence of America is freedom…The biggest threat to freedom is hatred, because if you have hatred our institutions can’t function.”




Regent Ranked Top 3 in Virginia’s Best Colleges in 2017

Regent University continues to stand as a leading institution for innovation in education — particularly in online learning.

It was recently ranked third in Top Colleges for 2017 in Virginia by Online Colleges.

The organization examined 2,500 other private and public colleges and universities.Regent Chapel

The ranking system they used implemented data from the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education and ten categories of criteria.

For the criteria, they considered factors such as a school’s offerings of online programs, tuition costs and affordability, whether or not a school had a career placement program, retention rates, and various other relevant factors.

They listed out 68 of the schools on a 100-point scale — Regent received a 98.36.

Online Colleges isn’t the first organization to give Regent recognition for its commitment to excellence.

Last year, U.S. News & World Report listed Regent in the Top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s Program.

They also ranked Regent’s School of Business and Leadership as one of the top five graduate business programs in Virginia in 2017.

Earlier this year, Military Friendly, a branch of Victory Media, ranked Regent #1 in “Military Friendliness.”

Regent University | Christian Leadership to Change the World



There’s No Party for the Middle: Jon Acuff Talks Finish at Executive Leadership Series

Jon AcuffNew York Times bestselling author Jon Acuff has what he calls a “mausoleum” of objects representing unfinished hobbies in his garage: a snowboard, a fishing pole and even an estimated 19 sticks of half-used Chapsticks.

He has a history of setting “bad goals,” he told more than 300 guests at Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series on Thursday, September 21.

They’ve manifested in his life in several ways, including wanting to be a kicker for the Sanford football team – and he’d sneak into the stadium at midnight to practice.

“During that field goal practice I made approximately zero field goals,” said Acuff.

And he’s not alone. He quoted a whopping 92 percent of all New Year resolutions – goals – fail, because the majority of these bad goal-setters don’t finish what they start.

“You have a better shot of getting into Julliard and being a professional ballerina in New York – that’s an 8.6 percent [chance], tiny dancer – than you do of finishing a goal,” said Acuff.

Each year January rolls around. Overly optimistic individuals set goals and drop them three weeks later without ever considering a different approach to their dreams.

“If 92 percent of your neighbors were mauled by bears, you would treat your neighborhood differently,” said Acuff. “But we don’t change and we keep starting, starting and starting.”

In 2013, Acuff published his book Start under the surmise that the problem those 92 percent of goal-setters were facing was simply…starting. He explained that pop culture is full of platitudes like, “well-begun is half-done” and “the hardest part of the journey is the first step.”

“That sounds nice on Instagram on a picture of a unicorn,” said Acuff. “But that’s not even remotely true. The middle is a lot harder than the beginning. We have launch parties. There’s no party for ‘the middle.’”

Acuff launched his latest book, Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, on September 12, with hopes to help his readers stop being haunted by the “ghosts” of their unfinished goals.

“Goals you don’t finish don’t disappear,” he said. “When you make a goal, you’re actually making a promise. A promise to yourself. And when you break that goal, you’re breaking a promise to the person you spend the most time with.”

There are a number of factors that prohibit these promises from being kept. One of the largest, according to Acuff, is perfectionism, or the fact that they’re “oversized” from the very beginning. A study in Finish found that those who cut their goals in half – say, setting out to lose five pounds instead of ten – led to a 63 percent higher success rate.

“If you want to fail before you even begin, make your goal too big,” said Acuff.

Additionally, Acuff said that focusing on the “game-changing” bonus of having fun, “borrowing the diplomas of others,” and not feeling like you have to do things on your own can help a goal go from start to finish.

“Starting is fun,” said Acuff. “But the future belongs to finishers.”


Regent University Launches State-of-the-Art Cyber Range Training Center with Cyberbit

Cyber Range Ribbon CuttingThe world-class facility will provide hands-on cybersecurity training and simulation platforms with real-time attack scenarios and security breaches for Regent students seeking to fill the projected 6 million job openings in the cybersecurity field by 2019.

The Cyber Range will also serve as a training center for local businesses, government and military organizations, and features customizable capabilities to meet every industry’s data protection needs.

It’s among the first of its kind to launch in the United States at a private university.

“This facility is going to be available to train military leaders, business leaders and especially the students of Regent University in cutting-edge technology,” said Regent Founder, Chancellor and CEO Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson to guests attending the Cyber Range’s ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony. “We want to be leaders, and Regent University has been a leader. And I hope that those of you here in the Virginia Beach community realize how important this Cyber Range is going to be.”

Robertson estimated 1 trillion dollars-worth of damage done by cybercriminals hacking into corporations. He explained that the Cyber Range will give real-world experience to executive and students alike on how to handle cyberattacks.

And according to Cyberbit CEO, Adi Dar, the most effective way to master a new skill is through simulation training.

“We are proud to partner with Regent University in their pioneering effort to advance the state of cybersecurity by developing a highly skilled workforce that can detect advanced threats and respond effectively to any kind of cyber incident across IT and OT networks,” said Dar. “There is no doubt in my mind that it has tremendous potential. I would like to congratulate the university on this special day and thank Dr. Robertson for the opportunity to be a part of this vision.”

Opening the Regent University Cyber RangeUnited States Congressman for Virginia’s 2nd District Scott Taylor said cybersecurity training is “critical” and “urgent” for the region’s business, military and other government agencies.

“Imagine the world’s most widely-used cyber-training platform located right here in Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads,” said Taylor. “I’m proud of Regent’s investment. It’s going to be a tremendous value to Virginia Beach, to Virginia and to our nation.”

Virginia Beach Mayor William Sessoms said cybersecurity is a “key area” that will help create millions of jobs in the region, placing Virginia Beach at the forefront of a “proactive and aggressive approach” to support technologies essential to our ever-changing global economy.

“Virginia Beach is willing, ready and able, and so is Regent University,” said Sessoms.

“Congratulations on today’s ribbon-cutting and thanks for all you do to make our communities smarter, sharper and stronger.”

The Honorable J. Randy Forbes, U.S. Representative, 4th District of Virginia (2001-2017), said that Regent stands on the “cutting edge” in its ability to prepare leaders for inevitable cyber danger.

“Standing on the cutting edge is nothing new for Regent University,” said Forbes. “But this is a quantum leap in how we prepare for cyber threats, because instead of being reactionary, we get to be strategic.”

Brigadier General Yaron Rosen of the Israel Defense Forces reminded attendees that though a technological revolution has occurred in the digital terrain, it still has the power to impact users on a physical and emotional level.

Communication Building Lobby“It’s affecting the way we live, the way we think, and the way we operate and do business,” said Rosen.

And much like his early days of playing left-tackle in football, Rosen doesn’t enter the field without the proper gear. This, he explained, is how civilians should think about protecting and equipping themselves in the digital realm.

“We can’t go out without the equipment,” said Rosen.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Regent’s Office of Alumni Relations & Special Events hosted a luncheon event. Former United States Attorney General John Ashcroft said he’s honored as he completes his thirteenth year at Regent, sharing the privilege of preparing the next generation of Christian leaders.

“Here, no pursuit of truth – intellectual or spiritual – is off-limits, and the truth, and an understanding of it, is the greatest defense we can have,” said Ashcroft. “As a result, both Americans individually and America as a defender of global liberty, are stronger, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity and for your involvement and your support of this project.”

Continuing to lead the way in training cybersecurity experts, Regent University will host its inaugural Cyber Summit, featuring reformed hacker and security consultant to Fortune 500 companies and global governments, Kevin Mitnick, in February 2018.



Constitution Day Explores Fifth Amendment: Should You Talk to the Police?

We the PeopleLife, liberty, pursuit of happiness and the right to due process: Regent University School of Law (LAW), Roberson School of Government (RSG) and College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) explored the Fifth Amendment promised to citizens in the United States Constitution on Monday, September 18.

Each year, Regent celebrates the nationwide observance of “Constitution Day,” a day commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.

To commemorate this year, LAW professor James Duane and Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell presented their perspectives on “Finding Common Ground for Criminal Justice: Exploring the Fifth Amendment.”

Duane spelled out his perspective on the Fifth Amendment from his recently published book that explores cases in which innocent parties have self-incriminated in criminal cases due to a lack of proper “lawyering up” before talking to police.

You Have the Right to Remain Innocent: What Police Officers Tell Their Children About the Fifth Amendment spurred from his viral video “Don’t Talk to Cops.”  It currently sits in the best-selling spot in Amazon’s Civil Rights Law category.

The book title, ironically, speaks for itself.

Constitution Day Presentation“Innocent people don’t talk. Innocent people keep their mouths shut,” said Duane.

Since the popularity of the video, Duane has had the opportunity to speak with thousands of college students from across the country on the matter.  To each of them he implores, “Don’t talk to cops,” warning that his book is full of cases where non-guilty individuals have served jail time by volunteering seemingly innocent information under the impression that they’re being helpful.

The stars align.  The jury deliberates. And innocent people serve jail time.

However, for Bell, these cases aren’t the result of speaking with the police, but of the failure of a prosecutor to do their job.

Bell said that when individuals refuse to speak to the police, there is an assumption – right or wrong – that they have something to hide.

“If you ever scream out, ‘I didn’t have anything to hide, I just didn’t feel like talking to the police because I don’t trust the police,’ do you think we’re going to trust you? Talk to me,” said Bell.  “I don’t know you, you don’t know me.  You want us to give you the benefit of the doubt and trust that what you say is accurate and true, but you’re not going to give us the same benefit of the doubt? It’s a two-way street.”

Constitution Day Presentation Offering police information can, in his opinion, only help matters, because of the “discretions” afforded to him by his position.

“I have the unbridled discretion to charge.  I have the unbridled discretion to amend. I have the unbridled discretion to amend a charge – up or down.  I have the unbridled discretion to drop charges,” said Bell.

Though he admits that every situation may not be right, and that innocent people are in prison, the prosecutors “hold all the cards.”

Their task is simple in theory: make sure that individuals who commit crimes are accountable for their behavior – their motivation lying in making a safer community for their constituents.

“We are the gateway keepers and when it’s all said and done, it falls on us to do the right thing,” said Bell.  “We have a higher calling when it comes to being a prosecutor.  We can’t afford to get it wrong.  We can’t.”


RSG Students Travel to Staunton, VA to Tour the Birthplace of Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson HouseDr. Elijah Agyapong led a group of faculty and students to the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States, in Staunton, VA on October 6, 2017.  Prior to arriving in Staunton, Dr. James Davids quizzed the students on President Woodrow Wilson and his family giving the students ideas for research during the tour not only on Wilson as a person and as our President, but also the obstacles he had to overcome to achieve the successes in his life.

The group began with a guided tour of the Presidential Limousine (1919 Pierce-Arrow), Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace, and the Presidential Library.  While in the Library, students perused the shelves of records kept by President Wilson’s personal physician on the President’s term in office, personal matters, and even his health.  Jennifer Kuhnen remarked, “I personally found it fascinating that the doctor’s notes on Wilson’s health, which today would be considered a part of his medical records, were maintained in the library.  Although Wilson was plagued with health issues and did not hide much of the details from the public, having so many details documented and maintained in a library would be unheard of in today’s world.  With policies in place to safeguard an individual’s personal information, specifically HIPAA for health records, I can’t imagine any recent public official’s records being shared as Wilson’s are”.  Heather Williams noted that she also “found the library quite interesting and would have enjoyed more time in the archives to actually look through the boxes.  Each was carefully labeled with great detail, i.e., (Cary T. Grayson Papers / Correspondence / Wilson, Woodrow, Crank Letter – Protection)”.

The tour continued with a brief lecture and video on Wilson’s life and career followed by a self-guided tour of the Presidential Museum, which houses several exhibits on his time at Princeton and artifacts from World War I.

Picture of Woodrow Wilson HouseStudents in the MPA program have read a lot of literature on the influence of Woodrow Wilson on the study and practice of public administration.  A key piece is his 1887 article entitled “The Study of Administration,” published in the Political Science Quarterly.  Dr. Agyapong organized the tour as a way to provide some balance by giving students a rare opportunity to learn about Woodrow Wilson’s personal life.  Woodrow Wilson had dyslexia and was unable to read until the age of twelve, yet he taught himself shorthand, which he used throughout his life in his personal notes.  He is the only president with a doctoral degree and prior to being elected as the 28th president of the United States in 1913 he served as president of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey.

The participants agreed that they look forward to the next RSG field trip!


RSG Alumnus, Gary Marx (MA ’02) Shares with Students

Gary MarxGary Marx (MA ’02) spoke with students in RSG’s “Christian Foundations of Government” course about his experiences as an expert campaign consultant and about how to morally approach the competitive world of campaigns.  The focus of his talk was on keeping one’s commitments to faith in all walks of life and about taking a lifetime-long, strategic view of advancing positive change in America.

Marx is co-founder of Madison Strategies and currently serves as a Senior Advisor for Scott Walker’s Our American Revival & the Judicial Crisis Network.  He launched Madison Strategies with his long-time friend Jason Miyares (now a delegate to the Virginia legislature representing Virginia Beach) after serving almost three years at the helm of the Georgia-based Faith & Freedom Coalition (FFC) as Executive Director.  Prior to joining FFC he was Vice President at Century Strategies, heading up their Washington D.C. office, while also serving as Executive Director for the Judicial Crisis Network, which works to confirm judges to the nation’s courts who follow judicial restraint and written words of the Constitution.

Gary Marx’s career path has included high level postings as Senior Advisor to Marco Rubio for President, Conservative Coalitions Director for the Romney presidential campaign in 2008, and also at the Bush-Cheney 2004 national campaign headquarters where he spearheaded outreach to social conservatives.  His coalitions program helped increase President Bush’s share of the “values voters” to 21.3 million or 36 percent of the total Bush vote.  Gary is a media veteran and has done hundreds of television, print, and radio interviews including CNN, CBN, CSPAN and FOX NEWS.  He has also been a featured speaker for prominent organizations such as The Federalist Society, The Leadership Institute, Hanns Seidel Foundation, AIPAC and The Council for National Policy.

Marx has a degree in Political Science from James Madison University and a Master’s degree in Political Management from Regent University.  He is married to Aimee and is the father of three children.


Study Abroad in Europe: Second Informational Meeting

LondonRSG students are headed back to Europe in 2018.  Earlier this month, Dr. Agyapong and Dr. Manjikian organized the second 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 and to take advantage of the October enrollment discount, visit the tour organizer’s website (click here).  Scholarship opportunity is available to students – application deadline is October 31 (click here).  All other inquiries about the program may be directed to Dr. Agyapong at or Dr. Manjikian at

Harry Potter and the Christian Just War Tradition” with Dr. Eric Patterson (lecture given on the campus of Georgetown University for conference sponsored by Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy)

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