CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Benjamin J. Lough will be the next dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The appointment takes effect May 16. Lough’s title will be dean designate until board approval.
Lough (pronounced LOE) is a professor of social work with an appointment as a professor of business administration in the Gies College of Business. He also serves as the director of social innovation at Gies.
“Professor Lough’s Illinois experience in teaching, his impactful research interests and his demonstrated passion for public engagement make him a strong next dean for the School of Social Work,” said Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost William Bernhard. “We congratulate the School of Social Work and look forward to the important work they will continue to accomplish.”
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 taught courses on the management of human service organizations, social welfare policy and international social work and development. His research examines the practices of transnational voluntary organizations that promote community development and social innovation.
He received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University. Prior to joining the University of Illinois, he was senior researcher at the Volunteer Knowledge and Innovation Section at United Nations Volunteers in Bonn, Germany.
Lough is currently working with the United States Agency for International Development to create an agency-wide mental health policy. He also continues to study the comparative advantages of hybrid social purpose organizations over traditional nonprofits.
In 2018, the Office of the Provost awarded Lough the Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement. In 2021, he received the Distinguished Promotion Award, which recognizes scholars whose contributions have been extraordinary in terms of quality of work and overall achievement.