Center for the Study of Free Enterprise

Dedicated to providing economics research and education to the students, faculty, and community of Western Carolina University.

Who We Are

Launched in 2017 as a part of Western Carolina University, the Center for Study of Free Enterprise (CSFE) supports our mission  through scholarly inquiry and community engagement. We focus particularly on the areas of economic development, applied research, and free enterprise. We provide research support, student scholarship, teacher training and much more in an effort to promote interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration among faculty, students, and community members.

What We Do

We work to enrich lives in our region by supporting scholars, offering free educational activities for our community, and providing easy-to-access information on public policy and the role of free enterprise in a flourishing society. Explore our current projects, read more about specific issues affecting our region, and find out how to submit your own idea for funding.

For Students

CSFE offers scholarships, fellowships, post-baccalaureate opportunities, and educational lectures for students

Scholarships and Fellowships >>

About Us >>

For Faculty

Access information, tools, and classroom materials / lesson plans designed for educational professionals of all levels.

Educational Resources >>

Submit an Idea for Funding >> 

For the Community

CSFE offers grants to individuals hoping to advance economic understanding through peer-reviewed research and public promotion.

Current Work and Publications >> 

Upcoming Events >>

Register Now

Our second annual K12 teacher training workshop will be held on April 1, 2019 in Asheville, NC. This day-long professional development seminar is geared towards middle and high school social studies, and economics, and CTE teachers in North Carolina. The cost of the workshop is free and substitute teacher reimbursement is available.

For more information, and to register, please visit

The Director’s Blog

Thoughts from our Founding Director, Dr. Edward Lopez, and other invited contributors. 

Ken Langone: Up Close and Personal

On Monday October 22, CSFE is hosting business icon and philanthropist Ken Langone as he visits WCU for the first time. Ken and I will do a fireside chat to discuss stories and ideas from his new memoir, I Love Capitalism: An American Story. I hope that people who...

Siri Terjesen at Free Enterprise Speaker Series

I have been organizing the Free Enterprise Speaker Series (FESS) since I arrived here at WCU in 2012. I inherited it from my good friend Steve Miller, who was on faculty here with me for three years and is the reason I moved here from San Jose State. Over the years...

Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the Director's blog here on the CSFE website. Even a few minutes of browsing will show that there is a broad range of content on this site. This breadth reflects the Center's tremendous growth since launching in early 2017. After its first year and a half,...

Dr. Craig Richardson: Bus Stop Jobs

On November 12, 2018, The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise is presented our third installment of the 2018-19 Free Enterprise Speaker Series, Bus Stop Jobs: A Film-screening and Discussion about Poverty and Economic Mobility in North Carolina. The public event featured Dr. Craig Richardson, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility at Winston-Salem State University.

Watch our livestream of the event below.



Dr. Loren Lomasky—Your Vote: Is Democracy in Decline?

On October 25, 2018, the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise presented our second installment of the 2018-19 Free Enterprise Speaker Series, Your Vote: Democracy in Decline. Presented by Professor Loren Lomasky, who considers himself a Churchillian democrat, this event explored the undersides of voting and troubling developments in democratic societies around the globe, from Turkey to Poland, Hungary to the Philippines, and here at home too.

Watch the Live Stream Below!


University Distinguished Speaker Series: Ken Langone

On October 22, 2018, the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise hosted Ken Langone. The event was held as part of the University Distinguished Speaker Series. For more information about the event, visit

Upcoming Events

  1. Teach Personal Finance Like a Pro

    April 1 @ 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
  2. Steve Ha and Sam Meyers

    April 3 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
  3. University Distinguished Speaker Series presents Phil Drake

    April 24 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm