Regent University Honors Excellent Faculty Members

Several Regent University faculty members were honored earlier in May for their service to their students and the excellence they exhibit in their classrooms.

Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, executive vice president for academic affairs, presented the Spring 2016 Faculty Excellence Awards at the quarterly all-staff meeting. Twice each year, Regent faculty are recognized for their outstanding contributions in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service.


Associate professor Kathleen McKee from the School of Law received the Faculty Excellence Award in the area of teaching. Moreno-Riaño noted that McKee holds her students accountable to master their material and the skills they need when they enter the field of law.

“She is a vital contributor to the curriculum due to the time-intensive, clinical courses she teaches,” said Moreno-Riaño. “Professor McKee's teaching produces students who posses strong analytical and writing skills, and she works tirelessly to accommodate students…including providing intensive one-on-one sessions with students in an already demanding skills context.”

Dr. Young Choi, associate professor in the College of Arts & Sciences, received the Faculty Excellence Award in the area of scholarship. Moreno-Riaño said that since Choi came to Regent in 2010, he’s published more than 20 academic articles on the topics of information systems and networking. He’s also presented at numerous conferences around the world.

“Dr. Choi is a scholar himself,” said Moreno-Riaño. “And, he is a mentor of scholars, choosing to spend significant time researching and publishing with students.”

School of Psychology & Counseling lecturer Dr. Merrill Reese received the Faculty Excellence Award in the area of service. As co-director for Regent’s Center for Trauma Studies, Reese has had the opportunity to provide training and counsel to students at an international capacity.

“Dr. Reese has been essential to the training and development of students to work in a variety of locations and situations where people have been traumatized due to natural or humanly cause disasters,” said Moreno-Riaño.

Moreno-Riaño also announced professors awarded initial tenure, continued tenure; or who have been promoted to positions such as senior lecturer, principal lecturer and professor emeritus. Learn more about faculty promotions.

Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law, School of Divinity, and School of Psychology & Counseling.

By Brett Wilson Tubbs

Regent University School of Law’s Moot Court Program Ranked 5th in the Nation

At the close of the 2015-2016 Moot Court competition season, Regent University School of Law ranked fifth in the nation for Best Moot Court Program by the annual report of the University of Houston Law.

Law schools that rank within the top 16 are invited to Houston in January 2017 to participate in the national championship. Regent ranked above schools such as the University of Virginia, Baylor University Law School, Colombia University Law School, and Duke University Law School to qualify for the competition.

This year’s ranking follows the eighth-place Regent teams earned during the 2014-2015 competition season. The data is pulled from more than 200 law schools in the United States accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).

The rankings are listed annually, and according to LAW Dean Michael Hernandez this ranking ties the university’s highest-ever – having achieved the same ranking in 2008.

“This ranking, yet again, confirms what our track-record of over 20 years reflects,” said Hernandez. “Our top-notch skills program is consistently one of the best in the nation and around the world.”

Professor Tessa Dysart, who served as the Moot Court faculty advisor for the 2015-2016 academic year, attributes the success of the program to several factors:

“First, it’s the hard work of the students. They put countless hours into preparing for these competitions, and it really showed this year!” said Dysart. “Second, the contribution of the faculty. We won several brief awards this year, which speaks well of our excellent legal writing program.”

Additionally, Dysart said the success of the teams was guided by the work of several faculty members who volunteered to coach teams, as well as support from the central university. This is especially important, as Regent students interact with members of teams and faculty from competing schools as well as local attorneys and judges.

“By being so well-prepared and demonstrating excellence at the competition, we show what a great legal education program Regent offers,” said Dysart.

Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law.

By Brett Wilson Tubbs

LAW Alumna Kristen Waggoner Selected for Regent University's Alumnus of the Year Award

As Regent University School of Law alumna Kristen Waggoner ’97 steps through campus, several competing thoughts run through her mind:

Kristen Waggoner '97 (LAW)
Photo courtesy of Alex Perry.
“There are a ton of memories,” she says with a laugh. “What stands out is remembering the presence of the Holy Spirit and how strong it is on this campus, and how free we are to express that; the spirit of that is very unique.”

This facet of Regent’s mission is particularly important to Waggoner as the senior vice president of United States legal advocacy at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an organization protecting religious freedom.

ADF has held seven cases in the last seven terms of the U.S. Supreme Court in areas of litigation, public advocacy and legislative support – a calling that Waggoner knew she would follow when she was 13 at a summer camp.

She returned to campus to accept Regent’s Alumnus of the Year award presented by the Office of Alumni Relations at the University Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 7. And as a self-prescribed introvert, receiving the distinction was both an honor and a stretch.

“Here’s why: it’s deeply humbling,” she says. “Every day I work with Regent grads of the law school [at ADF], and I know the caliber that’s there. I know what they’ve done, and I know they deserve it. I feel very fortunate.”

Apart from the study sessions with her husband, Benjamin Waggoner ’97 (LAW), and the intellectual rigor she equates to mental “boot camp,” moot court and trial advocacies, when she looks back, she remembers working hard not to stand out.

“I could give you highlight – what I remember most, though, was that I wasn’t anything special while I was here,” she says. “But God still created works for me to do. And he used my time here to prepare me for them.”

Now, her role requires the supervision of 60 in-house attorneys who partner with the organization’s nearly 3,000 allied attorneys in the world’s largest organization that works to ensure people may live consistently with their faith.

“It’s requiring me to step out of my comfortable shell,” she says. After 16 years working her way to partner at a law firm, Waggoner’s transition into working for ADF has felt like “returning home and joining [her] people.” She relishes defending the right that she believes gives every person the ability to explore the meaning of life.

“It affects every person regardless of what their faith is or if they have no faith at all,” says Waggoner. “It’s the right to explore who you are, who created you, why you were created and then to live consistent with that. It’s a fundamental right.”

Waggoner’s return to campus reminded her that in the midst of a changing culture with challenges to these fundamental rights at every corner, future lawyers are being prepared to follow their calling, rather than a lofty position title or a paycheck.

“It’s inspiring,” she says. “It cultivates hope. God can use anyone, but there are people here who clearly want to make themselves available to Him and His plan. And those are the people that I want to work with.”

Learn more about Regent University’s Office of Alumni Relations and Regent University's School of Law.

By Brett Wilson Tubbs

Regent Law Faculty Achievements - Week of May 11, 2016

Regent University's School of Law Faculty members willingly share their knowledge and expertise beyond the classroom to spark scholarly debate and advance the practice of law. Their latest endeavors include the following.

Professor Lou Hensler has published Torts: Cases, Materials, Questions, and Comments from a Judeo-Christian Perspective.  Find it on Amazon.

On April 25, 2016, at an event titled “Defense Against the Dark Arts: Ethical Challenges During My Time as a Judge,” Judge Patricia West presented on the ethical challenges she faced while serving as a judge and how she resolved those issues from a Christian perspective.

Professor Eric DeGroff was interviewed and quoted by the Virginian Pilot on the Gloucester County transgender student bathroom issue. Read it here. For further treatment of this important issue see the post at www.regentfamilyrestoration.blogspot.com.

Associate Dean Lynne Marie Kohm’s article with 3L Alison Haefner, "Empowering Love and Respect for Child Offenders Through Therapeutic Jurisprudence: The Teen Courts Example," was recently listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for: PRN: Punishment, Corrective Justice Generally (Topic).

Recent LAW graduate Kathleen Knudsen and Associate Dean Lynne Marie Kohm will present "Would Jane Austen be on eHarmony? How Changes in Women’s Legal Status Have Influenced the Choice of a Spouse," at the Annual North American Conference for the International Society of Family Law at Jackson Hole, WY on May 23, 2016.

Regent University School of Law will be hosting the Annual Conference of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools (RALS) September 29-30, 2016 here in Virginia Beach.  We are inviting faculty from 50 religiously affiliated law schools to join us for the event. 

Regent University Law Review will be hosting their Annual Symposium on September 30-Oct. 1, 2016, on “The First Amendment Post Obergefell: The Clash of Enumerated and Unenumerated Rights.”

Regent Law has moved up two spots on the SSRN ranking to #126 with 5171 downloads for the past 12 months. See www.ssrn.com.

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