Benjamin Lough

Benjamin Lough

Professor of Business Administration and Director of Social Innovation

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Educational Background

  • Ph.D. in Social Work, Brown School, Washington University, 2010
  • Master of Social Work, Brigham Young University, 2003
  • Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude, Sociology, Brigham Young University, 2000
  • Associate of Arts, Cum Laude, General Social Sciences, Ricks College, 1998

Positions Held

  • Director of Social Innovation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2020 to present
  • Professor, Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2020 to present
  • Program Director, Masters of Social Work, School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignn, 2016-2019
  • Senior Researcher, Volunteer Knowledge and Innovation, United Nations Volunteers (UNV); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 2016-2019
  • Senior Research Associate, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, 2013 to present
  • Faculty Director of International Service, Center for Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis, 2012 to present
  • Professor, School of Social Work, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaignn, 2011 to present

Recent Publications

  • Lough, B. (2022). Decentering Social Innovation: The Value of Dispersed Institutes in Higher Education. Social Enterprise Journal, Emerald Insight, 18 (1), 12-27.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2021). Voluntary ‘Organic' Leadership for Community Resilience. Voluntary Sector Review, 12 (1), 81-98.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2021). Examining the Normative Operations of Nonprofit Academic Centers. Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, 11 (1), 87-103.  link >

Other Publications


  • Lough, B., & Tiessen, R. (2018). How do International Volunteering Characteristics Influence Outcomes? Perspectives from Partner Organizations. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 29 (1), 104--118.  link >
  • Lough, B., & Turner, Y. (2018). How to Accelerate Volunteering through Employee Volunteer Programmes. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 67 77-94.  link >
  • Tiessen, R., & Lough, B. (2018). International Volunteering Capacity Development: Volunteer Partner Organization Experiences of Mitigating Factors for Effective Practice. Forum for Development Studies, 46 (2), 299-320.  link >
  • Matthew, L., & Lough, B. (2017). Challenges Social Work Students Encounters in International Field Placements and Recommendations for Responsible Management. Journal of Social Work Education, Routledge, 53 (1), 18-36.  link >
  • Mays, D., O'Neil, E., Mworozi, E., Lough, B., Tabb, Z., Whitlock, A., Mutimba, E., & Talib, Z. (2017). Supporting and retaining Village Health Teams: An assessment of a Community Health Worker program in two Ugandan Districts. International Journal for Equity in Health, 16 (1).  link >
  • Kim, S., Lough, B., & Wu, C. (2016). The conditions and strategies for success of local currency movements. Local Economy, 31 (3), 344-358.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2016). Complementary contributions of international volunteers to development: Evidence from Kenya. Voluntaris, Nomos, 2 (2), 8--37.  link >
  • Lough, B., & Xiang, X. (2016). Skills-based international volunteering among older adults from the US. Administration \& Society, 48 (9), 1085--1100.  link >
  • Lough, B., & Carter-Black, J. (2015). Confronting the white elephant: International volunteering and racial (dis)advantage. Progress in Development Studies, 15 (3), 207--220.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2014). Complementary contributions of international volunteers to development. Voluntaris, 2 (2), 8--37.
  • Lough, B., & McBride, A. (2014). Navigating the boundaries of active global citizenship. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 39 (3), 333--475.  link >
  • Lough, B., & Thomas, M. (2014). Building a Community of Young Leaders: Experiential Learning in Jewish Social Justice. Journal of Experiential Education, 37 (3), 248--264.  link >
  • Lough, B., Sherraden, M., & McBride, A. (2014). Developing and utilising social capital through international volunteer service. Voluntary Sector Review, 5 (3), 331--344.
  • Lough, B., Sherraden, M., McBride, A., & Xiang, X. (2014). The impact of international service on the development of volunteers' intercultural relations. Social Science Research, 46 48--58.  link >
  • Lough, B., Xiang, X., & Kang, S. (2014). Motivations for volunteering abroad in later life. International Journal of Volunteer Administration, 30 (2), 11--21.
  • Lough, B. (2013). Social work perspectives on international volunteer service. British Journal of Social Work, 44 (5), 1340-1355.  link >
  • Lough, B., & Allum, C. (2013). Effects of neoliberal adjustments on government-funded international volunteer cooperation organizations. Development in Practice, 23 (7), 908--919.
  • Lough, B., & McBride, A. (2013). The influence of solution-focused reflection on international social entrepreneurship identification. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 4 (2), 220-236.  link >
  • Perold, H., Graham, L., Mavungu, E., Cronin, K., Muchemwa, L., & Lough, B. (2013). The colonial legacy of international voluntary service. Community Development Journal, 48 (2), 179--196.  link >
  • Sherraden, M., Lough, B., & Bopp, A. (2013). Students serving abroad: A framework for inquiry. Journal of Higher Education and Outreach, 17 (2), 7--42.
  • Lough, B., Sherraden, M., & McBride, A. (2012). Measuring international service outcomes: Implications for international social work field placements. Journal of Social Work Education, 48 (3), 479--499.  link >
  • McBride, A., Lough, B., & Sherraden, M. (2012). International Service and the Perceived Impacts on Volunteers. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 41 (6), 969--990.  link >
  • Brassard, C., Sherraden, M., & Lough, B. (2011). International volunteerism in Asia. Humaneity Magazine, (February), 37--40.
  • Lough, B. (2011). International volunteers' perceptions of intercultural competence. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35 (4), 452--464.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2011). International volunteers' perceptions of intercultural competence. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35 (4), 452--464.  link >
  • Lough, B., McBride, A., Sherraden, M., & O'Hara, K. (2011). Capacity building contributions of short-term international volunteers. Journal of Community Practice, 19 (2), 120--137.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2010). Rise and demise of orphanages in Ukraine. 6 (April 2012), 37--41.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2010). The Perpetual Education Fund: Providing higher education loans in the voluntary sector. International Journal of Educational Development, 30 (4), 345--350.  link >
  • McBride, A., & Lough, B. (2010). Access to international volunteering. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 21 (2), 195--208.  link >
  • Brown, R., Nylander, A., King, B., & Lough, B. (2009). Growth Machine Attitudes and Community Development in Two Racially Diverse Rural Mississippi Delta Communities: A Monolithic Approach in Acomplex Region. Community Development Society. Journal, 31 (2), 173--195.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2009). Curricular blueprinting: The relevance of American social work education for international students. Social Work Education, 28 (7), 792--802.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2009). Principles of effective practice in international social work field placements. Journal of Social Work Education, 45 (3), 467--480.
  • Lough, B. (2008). Engaging the poor to challenge corrupt governance. International Social Work, 51 (4).  link >
  • Lough, B., & T., P. (2003). Rise and demise of Ukrainian orphanages. European Journal of Social Work, 6 (1), 49--63.  link >

Books and Monographs

  • Lough, B., Carroll, M., Bannister, T., Borromeo, K., & Mukwashi, A. (2018). The Thread that Binds: Volunteering and Community Resilience. State of the World's Volunteerism Report Bonn, Germany: United Nations Volunteers (UNV), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP.  link >
  • Leigh, R., Giesing, M., Le\'on, C, ., Haski-Leventhal, D., Lough, B., Mati, J., Smith, D., & Strassburg, S. (2011). State of the World's volunteerism report: Universal values for global well being. Bonn, Germany: United Nations Volunteers (UNV.

Technical Reports

  • Grandi, F., Lough, B., & Bannister, T. (2019). Global Trends in Volunteering Infrastructure. United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2016). Global Partners for Sustainable Development: The Added Value of Singapore International Foundation Volunteers. Singapore: Singapore International Foundation.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2015). Balancing Donor Priorities and the Civil Society Function. International Forum for Volunteering in Development.  link >
  • Lough, B. (2015). The Evolution of International Volunteering. United Nations Volunteers (UNV.  link >
  • Lough, B., McBride, A., & Sherraden, M. (2009). Perceived effects of international volunteering: Reports from alumni. St Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University.

Honors and Awards

  • University of Illinois Distinguished Promotion Award, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2021 to present
  • Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2017 to present


  • Leadership for Volunteering: The COVID-19 Experience, International Association for Volunteer Effort, 2020-2021
  • The Distinctive Contributions of International Volunteers to Gender Equality Programming: Perspectives from Partner Organizations in the Global South, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), 2019-2024
  • The Relationship between International Volunteering and Local Community-based Volunteering, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), 2017-2018
  • The Role of Volunteerism for Building Resilience in a Turbulent World, United Nations Development Programme, 2017-2018


  • Associate Editor, Voluntaristics Review, 2016 to present
  • Chair, University Engagement and Research, Building Bridges Coalition, 2016 to present

Current Courses

  • iVenture Accelerator Sem I (BADM 463) Designed for students actively engaged in learning through venturing, primarily students in the iVenture Accelerator, the educational accelerator for top student startups at Illinois. This highly collaborative course provides theory, context, and skills to enhance experiential learning-by-venturing. Topics include: feasibility analysis, business modeling, industry analysis, competitor analysis, ethical and legal foundations, corporate forms, building venture teams, growth financing, marketing for startups, intellectual property protection and commercialization, and planning for growth.

  • iVenture Accelerator Sem II (BADM 464) Designed for students actively engaged in learning through venturing, primarily students in the iVenture Accelerator. Alongside collaboratively planning and discussing the future of their ventures, we explore the interplay of venturing, entrepreneurial skills, and career decisions. Students conduct quarterly board meetings; develop personal boards of advisors; and learn from speakers who have built diverse, entrepreneurial careers. Topics include: venture management and governance, financing, team hiring and dynamics, and strategies for growth.