Create Curricula


We collaborate with the business school, entrepreneurship, and other departments and centers across campus to ensure students develop proficiency in capitalism. For us, this means understanding core principles of economics and human behavior, how these drive markets and market exchange, how capitalism has developed, and how it interacts with political systems and technology.


BEM 380 / ENT 306A – SPECIAL TOPICS COURSE (1.5 credit hours)

Finding Your Value Proposition

Faculty: Dr. Christina Elson and Professor Steve Nedvidek

Class Meetings: Tuesdays 3:30 – 5:45 pm from August 23 – October 4, 2022

Finding Your Value Proposition written on a chalkboard

Why are you at Wake Forest?

Will your experience prepare you for a happy life?

Happiness is the state of mind that arises from achievement of one’s values and finding the why that animates each one of us. This course helps you uncover your “why” and gives you the tools to explore, create, and chart a course for your future. There are two key reasons you should do this. First, most college graduates don’t work in their major. A career is a set of experiences that define your unique value proposition to the world. Second, in your life you will find that enjoyment and purpose do not come from consuming, they come from producing and creating. And, that purpose and happiness are deeply connected to meaningful work.

If you seek to live a purposeful and happy life, invest in understanding your values, behaviors, and abilities and proactively using this knowledge to chart a course for success. In this class we will explore you and what’s important to you; discuss how you can create value for yourself and others; and learn to use tools that help build an active mind that is engaged in continuous self-improvement.

Course Objectives

  • Uncover and assess your unique value, decide how to get the most out of it, and how to align your aspirations with your values.
  • Explore the concept of “creating value” and working with others to accomplish mutual goals.
  • Understand what drives behavior in people as individuals and as members of systems and consider how these behaviors can impact you.
  • Consider how to foster creativity, deal with challenges, embrace continual growth, and stay curious.


BEM 380 SPECIAL TOPICS COURSE (1.5 credit hours)

Going Dutch: Managing People and Spaces to Meet the Global Challenge of Rising Water

Professor: Russell Shorto

Class Meetings: Virtual, live meetings on Wednesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm from January 12 – March 2, 2022

This course provides participants with international experience exploring the role of business, government, and non-governmental organizations in combating the threat of rising seas due to climate change. It offers students interested in climate change a chance to engage with an international group of experts who are working right now to make the U.S. more resilient.

Students will examine the development and application of the Dutch “polder model,” an institutionally embedded culture of solidarity and systemic cooperation. This model has been demonstrably effective to attack complex water issues and has allowed the Dutch to develop water management technology, infrastructure, and consulting into a global economic opportunity. In particular, the course explores how the Dutch are working with Americans to export elements of their model into American contexts, and the cultural and institutional challenges that arise.

Canal with parked boats and boat houses in the NetherlandsIn this special topics course, students will:

  • Explore the development and expression of the Dutch “polder model,” an institutionally embedded culture of solidarity and systemic cooperation and compare it to the institutional models of other cultures.
  • Consider how the Dutch have turned the problem of water management into a global economic opportunity.
  • Learn stakeholder analysis concepts and apply them to complex projects involving business, government and non-governmental actors in the United States.
  • Learn approaches to knowledge and policy transfer and consider how leaders implement these ideas to create narratives that unify stakeholders, drive functionality, and change systems.
  • Develop their own point of view about institutional challenges in the Netherlands and the United States regarding water management projects and how to solve these problems through the efforts of business, government, and non-governmental organizations.
  • Increase their global mindset by working with Dutch peers at the University of Groningen, Netherlands.


BEM 375: Contemporary Issues in Business and Foundations of Capitalism

This course presents balanced coverage of the foundations of capitalism and contemporary issues in business and considers related concepts, theories, issues, problems, and policy alternatives pertinent to the global economy. The ultimate goal of the course is to explore current business issues that lie at the intersection between private companies and the public domain. Examples include: stakeholders versus stockholders, corporate social responsibility, the costs and benefits of state versus private ownership, government regulation of business, the role of the government in setting health care and/or tax policy, and the impact that business and free markets can play in economic development and social progress.

A graphic illustrating key topics in the syllabus as included in the text on this page.
In order to understand these types of issues, we first examine the foundations of the capitalist system, its moral and intellectual underpinnings, the principal arguments against and challenges to capitalism and free markets, the obligations of free institutions, and the history of the major schools of economic thought. This will be accomplished by reading work of leading thinkers about capitalism, economics, and free markets who have shaped generations of thinking at the highest levels of government, business, and academia. A few reading selections of many include: The Wealth of Nations, The Communist Manifesto, Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters to Global Capitalism, The Rise and Decline of the Laws of Capitalism, and The New Comparative Economics.

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Comprehend and effectively communicate the foundations, origins, and history of capitalism, as well as its manifestations in the 21st century.
  • Understand and appreciate the intellectual challenges to capitalism, and demonstrate economic literacy by recognizing the pros and cons of capitalism.
  • Distinguish between classical economists’ views, methods, assumptions, concerns, etc. and those of Keynesian economists (e.g. distinguish between long-term trends and short-run business cycles.)
  • Discuss the benefits and limitations of employing governmental regulation vs. free-market solutions to economic issues.
  • Apply an understanding of history and critiques to contemporary issues in business and society.
  • Develop a personal point of view and opinion about capitalism and its contemporary issues.

This course is offered in the spring semester and is co-taught by Dr. Ali Zeytoon-Nejad and Dr. Rob Nash.