Human Progress and Flourishing Workshop

Be part of an interdisciplinary conversation addressing the world's biggest challenges.

About the Workshop

Our workshop on Human Progress and Flourishing invites internationally-renowned scholars and speakers from across the country to present research and engage in discussion with the NDSU community. The series focuses on solutions and policies that contribute to opportunity, innovation, and individual and societal flourishing. 

All are invited to attend these free presentations and participate in a lively discussion. Seminars will be held every other Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Central. Attendees are encouraged to join us in-person in the Beckwith Recital Hall or virtually on Zoom. Light food and refreshments will be provided after each seminar in the Challey School of Music Atrium. 

Students of any major, undergraduate or graduate, can register for the 1-credit course BUSN 491/690. To join the class, email Tayt Rinehardt at 

*You do not need to enroll in the course to attend the speaker presentations. Everyone is welcome. 

Guests are encouraged to park in the T2 lot. You can receive a parking validation code at our event check-in table, please let us know if you need one.

Spring 2024 Speakers

Viewpoint Diversity and Civil Discourse
February 2 | John Bitzan
Topic: American Student Attitudes Toward Viewpoint Diversity, Human Progress, and Economic Systems

John Bitzan is the Menard Family Director of the Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth and a professor of management at North Dakota State University. He studies transportation economics, the impacts of regulation, and market structure and performance. His research has spanned public policy issues related to railroads, airlines, motor carriers, waterways, and public transit; including examining economic issues such as transportation costs, energy consumption, pricing, profitability, and regulatory change. More recently, his research has explored the relationship between meaning and economic freedom. Dr. Bitzan has co-edited three books on transportation economics and published research in top academic journals such as the Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, Review of Industrial Organization, and more. His work has also been published in Entrepreneur magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Examiner, and The Western Journal. Dr. Bitzan has worked at NDSU since 1990. Prior roles include the Associate Dean of the College of Business and an Advanced Research Fellow with the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute.

Zoom Event Registration


February 16 | Ben Klutsey
Topic: Pluralism and Civil Exchange

Ben Klutsey is the Director of Academic Outreach and the Director of the Program on Pluralism and Civil Exchange at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He facilitates outreach to faculty leaders and university centers to foster collaborations and knowledge sharing about building academic programs. He was previously the Program Manager for the Financial Markets Working Group and the Program on Monetary Policy at Mercatus. 

Before returning to Mercatus, he worked with the Institute of International Finance, where he analyzed international financial regulations, particularly related to liquidity risk management and risk governance. He received his MA in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University and his BA in Government and Philosophy from Lawrence University.

Zoom Event Registration

Economic Freedom Throughout the World
March 22 | Kerianne Lawson
Topic: Economic Freedom and the Development of North and South Dakota

Kerianne Lawson is a scholar at the Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth with the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise and an assistant professor of economics in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University. She teaches undergraduate courses on real estate, microeconomics, and math economics. Her research interests include economic freedom, crime and civil unrest, and electricity reliability. Her work on the expansion of property rights in South Africa sheds light on the charitable work done by the Khaya Lam Project and its role in deterring crime, encouraging investment, and creating opportunities for entrepreneurship. Dr. Lawson also conducts research on the importance of economic freedom at the local, state, and national level, and how it relates to political freedom and economic growth. 

Zoom Event Registration

April 5 | Antonio Saravia
Topic: Economic Freedom in Latin America

Dr. Antonio Saravia is the Associate Professor of Economics and the Director of the Center for the Study of Economics and Liberty at Mercer University. He holds a PhD in Economics from Arizona State University and an MA in Economics from Georgetown University. His work has appeared in highly ranked academic journals such as the Review of Development Economics, Constitutional Political Economy, and The Cato Journal, among others. Dr. Saravia is a frequent speaker on college campuses and conferences around the world. He is also a recurrent commentator for major media outlets such as CNN, NPR, Fox News, etc.

Zoom Event Registration

International Trade - Why Trade Issues Matter
April 19 & May 3 | Speakers Announced Soon
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