The Naveen Jindal School of Management has launched a new program to help students gain a better understanding of the American free-enterprise system.
The Colloquium for the Advancement of Free-Enterprise Education (CAFÉ) teaches Jindal School students the foundations of economic freedom and the function of ownership rights — and how this affects business practice.
“I’ve been at UTD for 25 years, and this is something I’ve wanted to do for at least 20,” said Dr. Peter Lewin, director of the program and a professor of finance and managerial economics. “I’m passionate about this program because I want to educate students who are not only trained in their specific academic areas but who are also educated in economic principles underlying the American free-enterprise system so that they can go on to become well-informed business leaders.”
Operating within the Center for the Analysis of Property Rights and Innovation, CAFÉ will every fall invite undergraduate and graduate students to apply for a fellowship. Chosen last semester, the 2018 cohort of CAFÉ fellows includes 11 undergraduate students and seven master’s students. The program is recruiting up to two graduate-student research fellows and up to two senior research fellows who will serve on the faculty. And Lewin and his team are working on filling a postdoctoral position.
The program is jointly funded by a grant of up to $840,000 from a local donor — a UT Dallas graduate who wishes to remain anonymous — and the Charles Koch Foundation, a charitable organization that supports scholarship in pressing issues such as criminal justice and policing reform, toleration and free speech, foreign policy, economic freedom, technology and innovation, and K-12 education.
Undergraduate CAFÉ fellows can receive up to $5,000, and graduate fellows can receive up to $10,000. As part of the fellowship, students are eligible to participate in interactive, elective UT Dallas activities, such as memberships and leadership roles in student clubs and reading groups. Interactive off-campus elective activities such as attendance at national or state conferences related to the mission of the program are also available to participating fellows.
“We will invite guest speakers who will present something very topical,” Lewin said. “It will be open to our fellows, as well as the University and the public. We also have funding to send students on a trip every year. We will fund fellows to attend conferences and meetings related to the program offerings.”
In addition, fellows will complete two courses (one per semester) over the calendar year. These two courses examine in detail, from both historical and geographical vantage points, the comparative performance of economies with different institutional structures. For example, the courses may examine rules relating to property, decision-making and regulation, and consider also how ideas and experiences have influenced various institutions.
Other available opportunities for graduate fellows include research, providing assistance and supervision to undergraduates involved in the program and assisting faculty with research or the creation of viewpoint articles.
“The target audience for research coming out of CAFÉ consists of connected, aware, curious businesspeople and academics, and the think-tank environment,” Lewin said. “The main focus of our program is educational, but we also have a robust research component.”
— Jimmie R. Markham