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Ben Lough

Dean, Professor, Director of Social Innovation at the Gies College of Business

head shot image of Ben Lough


(217) 244-5242

School of Social Work

1010 W. Nevada Street

Urbana, IL

Office: 2115


SOCW 245: Doing Good in the Nonprofit Sector, SOCW 321: Social Entrepreneurship & Social Change, SOCW 375: Social Enterprise Lab, BADM 463: iVenture Seminar, SOCW 579: Social Work Practice Theories

What I Do

I am driven by the belief that people have the power to change the world. Much of my work aims to inspire and empower people to recognize their potential and take action; to create spaces that foster innovation, collaboration, and social impact. Whether through volunteering in our communities or by launching a social enterprise, I believe people have the capacity to drive change.


BS in Sociology, 2000, MSW, 2003 – Brigham Young University

Ph.D. in Social Work with a Doctoral Certificate in New Institutional Economics, 2010- Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis


Dean Lough’s teaching focuses on community development, nonprofit management, and social innovation. He has taught courses on the nonprofit sector, social entrepreneurship, social work theory, organizational strategies for social change, and international social work and development.

Dean Lough is working with the United Stated Aid for International Development (USAID) to create a global mental health policy. He also continues to study the comparative advantages of hybrid social purpose organizations over traditional nonprofits.

Selected Publications

  • Lough, Benjamin J. (2022). Decentering social innovation: The value of dispersed institutes in higher education. Social Enterprise Journal 18(1) 12-27.
  • Lough, Benjamin J. (2022). Unpacking reciprocity in international exchange cooperation. Førde, Norway: Norec.
  • Lough, Benjamin J. (2021). Voluntary “organic” leadership for community resilience. Voluntary Sector Review 12(1): 81-98.
  • Lough, Benjamin J. (2021). Social development. In the Encyclopedia of Social Work. National Association of Social Workers (NASW Press) and Oxford University Press.

Latest news

  • Students,
  • Faculty & Staff,
  • Alumni

Lough Named School of Social Work Dean 

May 11, 2023

Illinois News Bureau

headshot of Ben Lough standing on Illinois campus
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