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Ben Lough

Dean Designate, 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

Areas of focus

Social Innovation


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 believe people have power to change the world. Whether we commit to volunteer in our communities or to launch a social enterprise, I believe people have the agency to make a difference.


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


Dr. Lough’s teaching interests focus on community development, nonprofit management, and social innovation. He currently teaches courses on the nonprofit sector, social entrepreneurship, social work theory, and organizational strategies for social change. He previously taught courses on the management of human service organizations, social welfare policy, and international social work and development.

Dr. Lough is currently working with the United Stated Aid for International Development (USAID) to create an agency-wide 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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