The Power and Possibilities of
Science + Ethics

Regent aggressively introduces new programs to prepare knowledgeable, ethical leaders in health care
by Belinda Elliott & Brook Chalfant

Life, throughout much of early human history, was “nasty, brutish and short,” noted 17th-century British philosopher Thomas Hobbes. To his point, the average life expectancy of a citizen of the Roman Empire was 25, and in 1900, 47 years marked the average American life span.

But then something remarkable happened.

In the early 19th century, advances in public health, vaccinations and new medicines made once-fatal infections preventable or easily treatable. And lifespans started increasing. Now, the average American lives to nearly 80
years of age, enjoying a much higher quality of life.

Modern health care and science hold astounding possibilities and enormous power. But with the possibilities and power come a greater need for social responsibility and call to higher standards of ethical research, management and practice. The marketplace is demanding qualified professionals who possess both scientific knowledge and a strong education in ethics, humanities and management.

science-honeycomb1Regent University is answering the call by boldly expanding into the health care and science fields. In doing so, Regent graduates will be trained to address critical areas in human well-being and prepared for new career opportunities.

“Regent is aggressively restructuring and introducing new undergraduate programs from biophysical sciences to pre-med to meet today’s needs and prepare tomorrow’s leaders,” says Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, executive vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS). “These programs are designed to provide a holistic education that integrates faith, ethics and science.”

In reviewing the most rapidly growing fields of influence, Regent introduced a bachelor’s degree in biophysical sciences (BPS) last fall. This innovative program features courses in biology, chemistry and math that will position students to enter graduate study programs in medicine, dentistry, pharmaceutical sciences or physician assistant programs. They also can go on to work in fields such as biology, chemistry, technology or public policy.

“The BPS degree is designed to be rigorous to provide the maximum amount of qualifications for different fields so students have lots of options,” explains Dr. Robert Stewart Jr., CAS professor and chair of the new program.

A bachelor’s in healthcare management launched this spring, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Bucci, CAS assistant professor and chair of the Department of Business, Leadership and Information Systems. Topics of study include health care changes, quality management, financial management, organizational leadership and marketing.

With this degree comes a wealth of potential careers including medical services or long-term care administration, community health management, health policy analysis, health promotion, and public health information analysis.

Now in development for fall 2015 is an RN to BSN program to help registered nurses efficiently earn a bachelor’s degree. Also in development are other high-demand STEM-focused disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), including computer science.

Regent was recently named a “2015 STEM Jobs Approved College” by stemjobs.com — a ranking that recognizes the university’s commitment to align degree programs with high-paying jobs that are in demand and provide curriculum focused on real-world job requirements.

Each of these new programs will help develop the foundational skills students need to succeed in today’s complex health care and science fields, as well as provide a faith-based understanding of God’s preeminence and the relationship between human beings and nature. Unlike their mainstream counterparts, these courses also will explore God’s world and teach students to respectfully challenge modern science’s conventional wisdom and presuppositions with an arsenal of facts and values.

Without question, our nation and world are facing unprecedented challenges of great concern in science and health care. Among the hottest issues today are topics from stem cell research, human cloning, and physician-assisted suicides and recreational euthanasia to legalization of certain drugs, rising healthcare costs, and the pros and cons of socialized medicine.

Addressing such challenges — and many others that cross into fields of law, government, psychology and counseling, business, pastoral care, and media — with wisdom requires the strong Christian leadership, innovation and academic excellence for which Regent is known.

A recent study in Ethics in Medicine (University of Washington School of Medicine, April 2014) reports that, by and large, people facing issues of life, health and mortality want to address both physical and spiritual dimensions of the issues. It is through science and faith, together, that humans grapple with complex matters of sickness, suffering, death, and even medical research and experimental treatments while searching for hope, meaning and personal value. And it is through the integration of science and faith that moral, meaningful, enduring results can be achieved.

“Regent has been a Christian thought leader in many academic disciplines that directly influence key areas of our culture,” Moreno-Riaño says. “Science is no exception. If there is a field that needs significant Christian leadership and a Christian voice, that’s one of them.”

Regent’s most significant signal that the university will become a leader in the sciences was the construction of a fully equipped, state-of-the-art Applied Science & Ethics Laboratory, which opened in August 2014. Here, students complete lab assignments and conduct research. Integrative seminars completed in the lab also help students apply spiritual principles to the scientific ones they are learning. The lab gives students experience using critical-thinking skills to develop innovative solutions in problem-based exercises. This beautiful facility uses the newest instrumentation and techniques.

Serving others through the medical field is what attracted freshman Anicca Harriot to Regent. Her parents met while serving on the medical team for President George W. Bush, so she was exposed to the medical profession from an early age. “I got to see the way that people who worked in medicine and the sciences got to help other people, and I wanted to have a positive impact on someone’s life the way I saw others do,” Harriot says.

Prior to coming to Regent, she had the opportunity to work as an intern in two prestigious facilities — conducting genetic research at the Smithsonian Institute’s Natural History Museum and stem cell research at the National Institution of Standards and Technology. When she arrived at Regent, she was excited to see similar high-quality equipment in the university’s lab.

“They have done a wonderful job of building up the labs so we will be exposed to the equipment and lab procedures that scientists use elsewhere,” she explains. “It positions us to be successful when
we leave the university.” Harriot plans to pursue her master’s degree after graduation and eventually earn her Ph.D. in biochemistry and work in research.

science-honeycomb4She says she appreciates the integration of faith that she has experienced in each course at Regent. “That is infinitely important because of the fact that the sciences are a field where God is so often neglected. We pursue science to get a better understanding of the way that God works in our world. Regent is developing scientists who have the potential to show other people the power of God.”

Harriot’s classmate, Jessica Torres-Cedillo, also a freshman, has been impressed by the caliber and approachability of the BPS faculty. Mentoring is an integral part of the program, and students meet with faculty several times throughout the semester to discuss their studies and receive advice about their career plans.

“The professors are really helpful,” Torres-Cedillo says. “They’re not just brilliant and admirable. They really connect and help you understand.”

At many schools, Stewart explains, professors have a huge number of students and rarely take the time to invest in those who may be struggling. “Our philosophy is that we are going to give you all the support necessary to get through all four years because we know once you get there, you’ll have the very same success whether you were very good your freshman year or not,” he says.

The broad-based nature of the BPS program is another aspect that appeals to Torres-Cedillo. Though her tentative plan is to go to a medical school overseas, she is excited that the program equips her for many different avenues.

“It allows me to breathe; I’m not restricted to choosing medical school after graduation,” she says. “Through this program I will be prepared to do even more. There are endless paths.”

In addition to the new lab, another important steppingstone for the university is its articulation agreement with Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) to pave the way for students to enter their master’s programs upon graduation. In a ceremony earlier this year, Dr. Richard V. Homan, EVMS president and dean of the EVMS School of Medicine, congratulated Regent on the promising BPS program and its dedication to providing a holistic education that integrates ethics.

Through the agreement, Regent juniors and seniors may qualify for early assurance of acceptance into five health professions master’s programs at EVMS: Art Therapy and Counseling, Public Health, Surgical Assisting, Biotechnology, and Biomedical Sciences Research. Regent students majoring in biophysical sciences, psychology, business, government, Christian ministry and biblical studies are eligible to apply for admission to the EVMS programs. Whether students choose to pursue a career in medicine, science, education, business, psychology, ministry or politics, Regent’s new science and health care emphases will prepare them to play a vital role in advancing the human condition.

As Regent continues its rich heritage of educating future leaders, it is essential that the university’s new programs connect its Christian mission to critical needs in the marketplace, explains Moreno-Riaño. “Regent has made a deliberate decision to invest in science education to develop Christian leaders who will be prepared to engage and transform the culture through scientific knowledge and Christ-like character,” he says. “Our lab and the science program it supports will serve students who will influence the world for generations to come.”

Through the program, students are prepared to enter graduate study programs in medicine, dentistry, pharmaceutical sciences or physician assistant programs. They also go on to work in the fields of biology, chemistry, technology or public policy.

Leah Hughey

Leah Hughey: Equipped in the Art of Thinking

When it came time to choose a college, Leah Hughey ’12 (College of Arts & Sciences), of Pennsylvania, struggled with the choice. She was interested in law and was considering in-state schools that offered dual B.A./JD programs. None of the programs excited her, and she found herself delaying her decision.

She first learned about Regent University from a friend’s mother. She remembers being amazed as she read about the combination of solid academics taught from a Christian worldview. Within a matter of weeks she and her parents were on the road to Virginia Beach for a campus visit.

“I remember we parked by the Student Center and walked up that sand and pine-needle covered path,” she recalls. “I just knew instantly this is exactly where I’m meant to be. Before I’d spoken to anybody, before I went inside of the building, I just knew.”

Today, Hughey serves as an academic programs coordinator with the prestigious Charles Koch Foundation. In this role, she draws on her academic experiences at Regent often as she works with faculty at universities nationwide to educate and engage undergraduate students in ideas related to human well-being.

Hughey spoke at the dedication of the Applied Sciences Laboratory last August, expressing her respect and appreciation for Regent’s faculty and the “high premium placed on entrepreneurship and creativity.” She says, at Regent, she found a community of students from around the nation who had similar passions and vocational interests — many of whom turned out to be lifelong friends.

One of them, Jason, would later become her husband. The two founded the Regent undergraduate debate association and traveled around the country participating in tournaments. This ability to innovate was a highlight for Hughey — one she sees as a plus for future students pursuing the sciences and health care at Regent.

“My undergraduate experience was life changing because of the ideas that were presented to me in a way that challenged me to think,” Hughey explains. “The professors taught us to think very critically and to apply a biblical worldview to questions of society and to think about the implications of things. Considering the works and opinions of others is important when you work with ideas and research for a living. But so is wisely formulating your own. That’s a skillset I largely gained at Regent.”

New Programs.
Exponential Growth.

Investment in an aggressive growth strategy, development of in-demand academic programs, and enhancement of other student-focused initiatives are reaping results for Regent University. For the 2015 spring semester, which began Jan. 12, Regent has seen a 42 percent increase in new student enrollment. For both current and future students, the benefits could mean higher career marketability, more convenient options for online and on-campus courses, and continual focus on affordability in earning a high-quality degree.

NEW PROGRAMS AND CONCENTRATIONS

At both the undergraduate and graduates level, new programs and concentrations include:

Undergraduate Level – Cybersecurity, Accounting, Computer Science, Early Childhood Development, Healthcare Management, and RN to BSN.

Graduate Level – M.S. in General Psychology; MBA and M.A. in Organizational Leadership with new concentrations in Healthcare Management and Not-for-Profit, as well as a Doctor of Strategic Leadership Individualized concentration; M.A. in Journalism and in Communication with a new concentration in Political Communication; both MPA and M.A. in Government with new concentrations in Political Communication and Healthcare Policy & Ethics; M.A. in Law with new concentrations in General Legal Studies and Human Rights; and M.Div. and M.A. in Practical Theology with a new concentration in Marketplace Ministry, as well as new certificates in Missional Discipleship and Worship & Media.

OTHER REGENT BENEFITS INCLUDE:

Roll out of 8-week course format to help students reach their goals at their pace.

A streamlined admissions process that could reduce the number of admissions requirements, such as letters of recommendation or certain test scores, and accelerate admissions decisions.

Affordable undergraduate tuition rates that place Regent among the top 7 percent of most-affordable private Christian universities (CCCU 2014).

“By adding new programs, we will have the top 10-15 online properties that people want already,” explains Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, executive vice president for academic affairs and College of Arts & Sciences dean. “I think we’ve moved toward an educational model that focuses much more on career readiness and being prepared for a job and increased earning potential.”

Regent’s School of Education (SOE) was one of the first schools to adapt the new eight-week course structure in response to student demand. They have seen a 15 percent increase in enrollment since they began admitting people mid-term. Student feedback has also been positive. Rather than juggling two courses at once during a 16-week semester, they are able to focus on their first eight-week course, then move on to the second one.

“These changes are absolutely essential and timely,” Moreno-Riaño says. “I know that God’s hand is upon this place. Regent cares about people’s calling in the marketplace in lots of different industries and levels. Promoting Christian Leadership to Change the World has never been more exciting.”

You can set up future Christian leaders with a $500 Alumni Referral Grant.

If you are an alumnus, simply visit regent.edu/alumnireferral for details on how to help your friends or family members become Regent students and earn a grant upon acceptance and enrollment to any Regent degree program.

Best Online Programs 2015

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