Economic Education

In addition to the classroom teaching of our faculty, the Bridwell Institute is directly involved in several economic education efforts through our undergraduate student reading groups, our Teaching Free Enterprise program for Texas school teachers, and our Graduate Economic Freedom Research Colloquium.

Davis Teaching

Student Reading Groups

Fall 2024

Reading Group at TTU

The Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom invites applications from undergraduate SMU students of any major for its two Fall 2024 reading group programs. The Armentrout Scholars Reading Group Program will have four groups: Mondays and Tuesdays at 6:15-8:00pm, led by Dr. Dean Stansel, Wednesdays at 6:15-8:00pm, led by Richard Alm, and Fridays at 11:15am-12:45pm, led by Dr. Meg Tuszynski. All four groups will have the same reading list. The Bridwell Scholars Advanced Reading Group, which will have a different reading list, will meet on Thursdays at 6:15-8:00pm, led by Dr. Ryan Murphy. Dinner (lunch on Fridays) will be provided. Our reading groups are one semester, non-credit programs where participants will read and discuss selections from classic and contemporary works in political economy that address the relationships between and among entrepreneurship, economic freedom, and social progress.

The theme for the Armentrout Scholars Reading Groups will be “Contemporary Public Policy Issues.” Participants will read and discuss classic and contemporary works by a variety of economists, philosophers, and other social scientists, including Nobel Laureates F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman, that explore the issues most important to voters in this election season. Polls say those issues include the economy/inflation/housing costs, immigration/trade, education, the environment, foreign policy, democracy, drugs/crime, inequality, health care/Social Security, and energy/transportation. We’ll spend one meeting focusing on each of those issues.

The title for the Bridwell Scholars Advanced Reading Group will be “History and Philosophy of Economics as a Science.” Preference will be given to students who have previously participated in a Bridwell Institute/O’Neil Center reading group, but applications are open to all undergraduates. The readings for the semester will center on the intellectual biographies of two Nobel Laureates in Economics, F.A. Hayek (Hayek’s Challenge by Bruce Caldwell) and Paul Romer (Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations by David Warsh).

As much as possible, students will be expected to attend Bridwell Institute events throughout the semester. They will receive a $1,000 stipend upon successful completion of the program.*

There are many more applicants than available spots, so the application process is very competitive. Previous students are allowed to reapply but are not guaranteed acceptance. The online application will require you to upload an unofficial SMU transcript showing your cumulative GPA and to provide the following information: what year of school you’ll be in, your major and minor, your hometown, whether you have participated in a previous Bridwell Institute reading group (if so, which one), and which days you are available to attend. It will also require you to provide short answers to the following questions: 1) What unique insights do your major and minor (or any other aspects of your personal experience) provide on the topic? 2) What are the three most influential works you have read? 3) What do you hope to get out of participating in this program? The deadline for submission of applications is Tuesday April 30, 2024. If you have questions, contact Prof. Dean Stansel at

*For international students, there will very likely be foreign national withholding taken out of that payment before you get it. You may be able to get that withholding rebated if you file an income tax return in your home country. We have no control over that process.

Submit the online application 


Teaching Free Enterprise

The Bridwell Institute developed the Teaching Free Enterprise program to help Texas school teachers develop the knowledge and expertise they need to meet the Texas Economics TEKS regarding Free Enterprise in classroom instruction. Top professors and researchers from Southern Methodist University, TexasTech and the UT System, are providing lessons, activities and exercises that can be readily implemented in the classroom.

This program presents modules that address some of the most important yet often misunderstood aspects of free-enterprise economies:

  • The connection between progress and the demise of jobs, companies and industries.
  • The institutional setup that creates conditions for success in free enterprise economies.
  • How free enterprise raises living standards over time.
  • How voluntary exchange adds to value by making both buyers and sellers better off.

Teaching Free Enterprise in Texas offers educators: 

  • A fast-paced, informative program that earns CPE hours for educators. (Approved TEA Center)
  • Classroom-ready instruction by leading professors from Texan Universities, with a focus on real-world issues.
  • Lesson plans that fulfill the state’s standards (TEKS) to teach free enterprise and its benefits.
  • On-line access to instructional materials you can use to deliver the lessons to students.
  • Comfortable, modern venues, breakfast and lunch included.
  • At no cost to teachers, school districts or ESCs.

View Modules

Graduate Economic Freedom Research Colloquium

The annual colloquium introduces a small group of invited graduate students to the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) index, the Economic Freedom of North America (EFNA) index, and the Metropolitan-Area Economic Freedom Index (MEFI), which are all authored or co-authored by Bridwell Institute faculty. Over the course of 3 days, the students see presentations about how these indexes have been used in published academic research, and the ultimate goal is to encourage attendees to use one or more of the indexes in their own work. Colloquium faculty have included Robert Lawson, Dean Stansel, Ryan Murphy, and Meg Tuszynski from the Bridwell Institute, as well as Joshua Hall (West Virginia University), Claudia Williamson (University of Tennessee Chattanooga), Kevin Grier (Texas Tech), and Russell Sobel (Citadel).

Other Opportunities

Other Opportunities for SMU Undergraduate Students

Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom Colloquia: The Bridwell Institute offers periodic one-day intensive reading/discussion colloquia for undergraduate students. Contact for more information.

American Enterprise Institute Summer Honors Program: The AEI Summer Honors Program is an intensive, fully-funded one-week educational and professional development opportunity in Washington, DC, for top undergraduate students. Read More...

Koch Internship Program: The Koch Internship Program (KIP) combines an educational approach that puts the student in the driver’s seat with hands-on work experience for future leaders interested in making a difference in the world. Read more...

Koch Associate Program: The Koch Associate Program (KAP) is a year-long opportunity that blends professional development with real work experience. It is designed for early and mid-career professionals seeking to accelerate their growth as leaders while addressing the biggest problems in society. Read more...

Mercatus Institute Don Lavoie Fellowship: TheDon Lavoie Fellowship is a competitive, renewable, and online fellowship program for advanced undergraduates, recent graduates considering graduate school, and early-stage graduate students. Read more...

Other Opportunities for SMU Graduate Students

Adam Smith Society (SMU Cox Chapter): The Adam Smith Society is an expansive, chapter-based network of MBA students, professionals, and business leaders who work to promote debate and discussion about the moral, social, and economic benefits of capitalism. Read more...

Institute for Humane Studies: The Institute for Humane studies offers several types of support for graduate students aspiring to become faculty members. Read more...

Mercatus Center: The Mercatus Center offers numerous fellowship programs for graduate students. Read more...

Other Opportunities for the DFW Community

Adam Smith Society (Dallas Chapter): The Adam Smith Society is an expansive, chapter-based network of MBA students, professionals, and business leaders who work to promote debate and discussion about the moral, social, and economic benefits of capitalism. Read more...

America's Future Foundation (Dallas Chapter): AFF-Dallas is a professional development network for individuals who believe in the power of personal liberty, entrepreneurship, and innovation–channeled through free markets–to promote positive social change. Read more...

Bastiat Society (Dallas Chapter): AIER’s Bastiat Society program provides a platform for scholars and policy experts to share their insights and experiences with the general business community. Read more...