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Ben Lough


Research Interests

Professor Lough is Professor and Dean at the School of Social Work and Director of Social Innovation at the Gies College of Business. He also holds positions as Senior Research Associate with the Center for Social Development, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, and Faculty Director of International Service at the Center for Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis. He is also the associate editor of Voluntaristics Review. Dr. Lough earned his BS in Sociology in 2000 and his MSW in 2003 from Brigham Young University, and his PhD in Social Work with a Doctoral Certificate in New Institutional Economics from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis in 2010. Dr. Lough also worked as a clinical social worker and therapist. His teaching interests focus on community development, nonprofit management, and social innovation. He currently teaches courses on the nonprofit sector, social enterprise, 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.


Social Work, PhD, George Warren Brown School of Social Work

BS, Sociology, Brigham Young University, 2000

MSW, Brigham Young University, 2003

PhD, Social Work, Washington University, 2010

Additional Campus Affiliations

Dean, School of Social Work
Professor, School of Social Work
Director of Social Innovation, Gies College of Business
Professor, Program in Jewish Culture and Society
Professor, Women & Gender in Global Perspectives
Professor, European Union Center
Professor, Center for African Studies
Professor, Business Administration
Professor, Russian, East European and Eurasian Center

Highlighted Publications

Lough, B. J., & Tiessen, R. (2018). How do International Volunteering Characteristics Influence Outcomes? Perspectives from Partner Organizations. Voluntas, 29(1), 104-118.

Lough, B. J. (2022). Decentering social innovation: the value of dispersed institutes in higher education. Social Enterprise Journal, 18(1), 12-27.

Lough, B. J. (2021). Voluntary ‘organic’ leadership for community resilience. Voluntary Sector Review, 12(1), 81-98.

Paine, A. E., Allum, C., Beswick, D., & Lough, B. J. (2020). Volunteering and the sustainable development goals: An opportunity to move beyond boundaries. Voluntary Sector Review, 11(2), 245-254.

Tiessen, R., & Lough, B. J. (2019). International Volunteering Capacity Development: Volunteer Partner Organization Experiences of Mitigating Factors for Effective Practice. Forum for Development Studies, 46(2), 299-320.

View all publications on Illinois Experts

Recent Publications

Lough, B. J., & McFadden, A. (2023). Do founders attribute their success to skill or luck? Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 12(1), Article 47.

Lough, B. J. (2023). Social development. In The encyclopedia of macro social work: Volume 3 P-W (Vol. 3-3, pp. 2214-2223). Oxford University Press.

Compion, S., Lough, B. J., & Jeong, B. G. (Accepted/In press). Gendered Disparities in Funding for Non-Profit, Hybrid, and for-Profit Start-Ups. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship.

Laursen, T., & Lough, B. J. (Accepted/In press). Deployment of funding across non-profit, hybrid, and for-profit ventures. Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment.

Lough, B. J. (2022). Decentering social innovation: the value of dispersed institutes in higher education. Social Enterprise Journal, 18(1), 12-27.

View all publications on Illinois Experts