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Center for the Study of Free Enterprise announces first faculty affiliate program cohort

The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise at Western Carolina University has publicly introduced its 2020-21 group of faculty affiliates. This is the inaugural year of the program.

Faculty affiliates will receive financial and logistical support from the center, which supports projects that advance economic development and promote understanding of free enterprise; hosts an annual speaker series; and sponsors open-to-the-public forums on community issues. Additional support for faculty affiliates may be provided for project materials and presentations, including conference travel and student-hiring as research assistants.

The 11 members of the initial cohort represent WCU departments of psychology, mechanical engineering, emergency medical care, social work, accounting and economics, along with a former WCU faculty member with close ties to the university. 

“The faculty affiliate program is a platform that showcases the important work being done on campus and serves as a conduit to connect the university to the needs of the region’s communities,” said Edward Lopez, who holds the BB&T Distinguished Professorship in Capitalism and is the center’s executive director. “In a very real and contemporary sense, that includes work and research that specifically addresses economic and community recovery from COVID-19.

The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise also will provide faculty affiliates with promotional support and marketing tools to share the results of programs and research on a local, regional, state and national basis.

The announced members of the first cohort and summary of projects:

  • Jackson Déziel, assistant professor, director of the Emergency Medical Care Program, will examine emergency services response to the pandemic and pertinent policy actions
  • Angela Dills, Gimelstob-Landry Distinguished Professor of Regional Economic Development, will research the effect of telehealth parity laws on mortality rates
  • Turner Goins, Ambassador Hyde Distinguished Professor of Gerontological Social Work, will conduct interviews and analysis of those 65 years and older and their experiences with COVID-19
  • Inhyuck “Steve” Ha, professor of economics, will measure the economic impact of a WCU closure on the campus and the region
  • Marco Lam, associate professor of accounting, will study the municipal bonds market and public policy implications
  • David McCord, professor of clinical psychology, will research post-partum depression and, with students, develop a new screening method
  • Stephen Miller, Adams Bibby Chair of Free Enterprise at Troy University, will conduct a comparative analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on states and regions
  • Sean Mulholland, professor of economics, will study the impact of the pandemic on small businesses in the travel, hospitality and entertainment business sector
  • Audrey Redford, assistant professor of economics, will examine the impact of North Carolina’s “death by distribution law” on unintentional drug deaths
  • Martin Tanaka, associate professor of engineering, will investigate mutually beneficial industry and academic partnerships for communicating (specifically Zoom)

The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise has a complete faculty affiliates listing and description of projects at For more information email

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