Our Work

Research, partnerships, and project support are just a few ways we're making an impact.

Speaker Series

Free and open to the public, we aim to give our community the chance to explore all points of view on issues of the day. We offer a forum for the campus and community to hear from renowned experts and understand multiple perspectives through civil, informed, and fruitful discourse.

Free Enterprise Speaker Series >>

Distinguished Lecture Series >>

Economics Education

As part of our mission to serve the community, we provide educators in WNC with professional development opportunities and in-classroom resources to help them teach financial and economics education to the next generation of scholars. 

Economics Education Resources >>

Upcoming Events >>

NC Data Dashboard

Our new, online information tool designed to provide easy access to recent economic trends in the counties of Western North Carolina and across the entire state to everyone from community-minded residents and college students conducting research to industry and business executives exploring possible locations for expansion.

NC Data Dashboard >>

Supported Research and Issue Briefs

In support of our mission to provide economics research and thought leadership focused on issues in economic development in our region, we sponsor students, faculty and community members in their scholarly pursuits. Through scholarly inquiry and policy analysis, we hope to fulfill our desire to be an interdisciplinary forum that supports Western Carolina University faculty, students, and community members to exchange ideas, engage in mutual outreach, and collaborate on applied research.

Upcoming Events

Previous Events

A Conversation with Phil Drake

A Conversation with Phil Drake

The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise, along side the Division of Academic Affairs at Western Carolina University welcomed Phil Drake, software pioneer, angel investor, community leader, and founder of Drake Enterprises, on April 24, 2019. Drake took the stage...

In The News

Do spikes in COVID-19 cases lead to spikes in deaths?

One crucial question is whether spikes in new daily cases are followed by later spikes in hospitalizations and deaths. Many have expressed grave concern about this possibility. Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb told Face the Nation last Sunday, “We’re right back...

Dr. Edward Lopez on the impact of COVID-19 on WNC small businesses

Small businesses are bearing the brunt of the economic shut-down as a result of COVID-19. In a recent interview on WLOS News 13, Center for the Study of Free Enterprise Director Dr. Edward Lopez spoke about the conditions affecting small business owners. Recent...

COVID-19 and Empty College Seats: Interview with Sean Mulholland

Our Associate Director Sean Mulholland has a new study on the college enrollment effects of COVID-19. He spoke recently with Shannon Watkins of The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal about the new research paper, “COVID-19 Prevalence and Empty College Seats.”