Director, Scott Niederjohn, Ph.D.

Dr. Scott Niederjohn is Professor of Economics and Director of the Free Enterprise Center at Concordia University in Mequon, WI. Dr. Niederjohn holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from Marquette University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Professor Niederjohn is a widely known scholar in the areas of economic education and public policy analysis. Dr. Niederjohn has published more than ninety journal articles, book chapters, monographs, reports and curricular materials. Professor Niederjohn is also the co-author of three books: Economic Episodes in American History, Second Edition (Wohl Publishing), Economic Episodes in Civics and American Government (Wohl Publishing) and Teachers Can Be Financially Fit: Economists' Advice for Educators (Springer).

Niederjohn serves on the Wisconsin Governor's Council for Financial Literacy and has received the Governor’s Financial Literacy Award in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2018. During the fall of 2013, Professor Niederjohn was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the University of Luxembourg. Niederjohn is a visiting fellow at the Badger Institute and serves on the boards of the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) and The Menard Family Midwest Initiative for Economic Engagement and Research. Niederjohn was recognized in the December 2014 issue of Money Magazine for his work in shaping the landscape of financial education curriculum.

Scott is married to Stephanie. They reside in Wauwatosa, WI with their four children.

Read more about Scott on his website:

Affiliated scholars

Affiliated Scholars advise the Center on research and education projects and participate in the Center’s programs and events.

Dr. Dan Sem

Dr. Dan Sem has over 25 years of experience in healthcare entrepreneurship and innovation, first in the biotechnology sector, then in academia. He has over 70 published papers and book chapters, 10 issued patents, and has co-founded several companies. In 2020 he published the book Purple Solutions: a bipartisan roadmap to better healthcare in America. Dr. Sem works extensively with Universities, Industries and Government in Southeast Wisconsin to build shared innovation and commercialization resources for the region. He received his Ph.D. from UW-Madison (1990), and then worked in biotechnology in San Diego where he co-founded Triad Therapeutics, ranked one of the top 10 biotech startups in the US by Drug Discovery Today (later acquired by Novartis for $60 million). He also has Law and MBA degrees from Marquette, and has acquired a passion for free market-based healthcare policy—blending law, healthcare, ethics and sound economics. Sem joined the faculty at Marquette in 2002 and served as Assistant then Associate Professor of Chemistry before joining Concordia University’s new School of Pharmacy in 2011, transitioning to his current position as Dean of Business in July 2016.

Sem is also cofounder and VP of CU Ventures; cofounder and Director of the Remedium Exchange (x) Think Tank ( The mission of the Rx Think Tank is to provide information, resources, and support to policy makers, healthcare innovators, patients and providers, to help them consumerize healthcare; and, to accomplish this by incentivizing, educating and empowering patients and providers so they can make their own healthcare decisions—so market forces can drive down cost and increase quality.

Learn more about Dan on his website:

Dr. Steve Montreal

Dr. Steve Montreal has co-authored articles related to the political knowledge and activism of Lutheran pastors, exploring the connection between faith and the public square. He teaches both statistics classes and political science classes. He is Concordia University Wisconsin’s coordinator of the Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation grant, focusing on civil liberties and civil discourse. His current research interests include the impact of social media and big tech on political discourse.

Dr. Mark Schug

Dr. Mark Schug is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Professor Schug taught for 36 years at the middle school, high school, and university levels. A widely recognized scholar, he has written and edited over 230 articles, books, and national curriculum materials. Professor Schug has spoken to local, state, and national groups throughout the United States and in 11 other countries. He has been the guest co-editor of ten issues of Social Education, the flagship journal of the National Council for the Social Studies. His latest books are Teaching Economics in Troubled Times published by Routledge Press and co-edited with William C. Wood of James Madison University and Economic Episodes in American History published by Wohl Publishing and co-authored William C. Wood.

Professor Schug does consulting for several local, state, and national organizations and has received national awards for leadership, service, and research in economic education. Mark and his wife Io have been married for 49 years, have two grown daughters, and four grandchildren.

Dr. Tawni Ferrarini

Dr. Tawni Ferrarini is the Robert W. Plaster Professor of Economic Education at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri. She was the 2015 president of the National Association of Economic Educators, the inaugural recipient of the National Association of Economic Educator’s Abbejean Kehler Award, beneficiary of the 2009 Michigan Economic Educator of the Year Award and a 2009 Distinguished Faculty at Northern Michigan University. She has written curriculum materials for the Council on Economic Education. She specializes in the use of technology in the classroom and the integration of economics and American history. She was instrumental in helping to formally establish the Council on Economic Education – Japan and is a consultant for the Korea Development Institute in Seoul. Professor Ferrarini publishes in economic education, technology, and education journals. She earned her doctorate in economics from Washington University, where she studied economic history under the 1993 Nobel Laureate Douglass C. North.

Dr. Adam Hoffer

Dr. Adam Hoffer is an Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Menard Family Midwest Initiative for Economic Engagement and Research at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Hoffer teaches courses in political economy, sports economics and behavioral economics. Hoffer has published journal articles in economics and two books: For Your Own Good: Paternalism, Taxes and Fiscal Discrimination in the Twenty-First Century and When it Comes to Taxes in Tennessee: Focus on Competitive Advantage.

Dr. William Wood

Dr. William Wood is a Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Education at James Madison University. Wood was the recipient of teaching awards at the University of Virginia and at James Madison University, where he was the 2001–2002 Distinguished Teacher in the College of Business. Wood was named in 2002 as an inaugural winner of the Southern Economic Association’s Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award. Wood is also a past recipient of the Alpha Kappa Psi-Clifford D. Spangler award for research in risk and insurance and Best Paper award for the Journal of Private Enterprise. He is the author of four books, more than 60 scholarly articles, and national economic education materials for school and adult audiences.

Dr. Tyler Watts

Dr. Tyler Watts is an Associate Professor of Economics at Ferris State University and an affiliate professor at Concordia University in Wisconsin. Watts joined the faculty of Ferris State University in 2018, having previously taught at both large public universities and small private colleges. Watts’ research interests include monetary history, entrepreneurship, and institutional analysis. He has published academic research papers, policy analysis, and commentary articles in a variety of scholarly and popular publications, including Eastern Economic Journal, The American Economist, and The Federalist.

Professor Signè Thomas

Professor Signè Thomas is the K.W. Davis Visiting Lecturer at Trinity College, where she teaches courses within the Formal Organizations minor. Prior to joining Trinity, she was the Project Director for the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education at Florida State University (FSU). Her role included advancing economic literacy through teaching, textbook and curriculum development, and programs. While at FSU she also served as Research Associate for the DeVoe Moore Center and taught courses for the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship.

Signè is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, and she is heavily involved in promoting economic literacy across North America—particularly through partnering with organizations such as the Foundation for Economic Education and the Fraser Institute to train educators via teacher workshops and webinars, and also engage with college and high school students via student seminars. In 2018 she authored the curriculum Lessons in Economic Freedom, which is used in the classrooms of educators in Canada and the U.S. In the classroom, Professor Thomas likes to engage her students by making use of interactive activities and class discussion.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Affairs as well as her Masters in Applied Economics from Florida State University. Signè is pursuing her doctoral degree in Economics from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín.

Professor Kim Holder

Professor Kim Holder is the Director of the University of West Georgia’s (UWG) Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy, Senior Lecturer of Economics in the Richards College of Business (RCOB) and Director of Financial Literacy. She’s an alumna of UWG and Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

Kim’s passion for her students is notable both inside and outside of the classroom. Her work on campus has been recognized by the UWG Student Government Association’s Faculty Member of the Year Award (2014), the UWG Alumni Association’s J. Owen Moore Faculty Award (2016), and the UWG Athletic Foundation’s Faculty Member of the Year Westpy Award (2016) which was created in recognition of her service. She is also the recipient of the RCOB Excellence in Teaching (2013, 2019), Service (2015, 2018), and Research (2016, 2019) awards, along with multiple faculty-sponsored undergraduate research awards for mentoring undergraduate research students.

Holder’s academic research focuses on creatively teaching with media and social media to break down barriers to economics education. She created the National Rockonomix Contest (Journal of Economic Education) along with other innovative techniques (“Putting Yourself in the Picture with an ECONSelfie”, International Review of Economic Education, “Art of Econ: Incorporating the Arts through Active Learning Assignments in Principles Courses”, Journal of Economics and Finance Education, and “The Economics of The Hunger Games”, International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education) in order to engage today’s students. She is also the co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Macroeconomics (W.W. Norton) and the Digital Implementation Guide for Mankiw’s Principles of Economics (Cengage), instructional resources for teaching economists.