Dr. Ben Dilla is an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Management in the Gupta College of Business and has taught at the University of Dallas since 2014. He earned his M.S. & Ph.D. in industrial & organizational psychology from Purdue University and a BS in behavioral sciences & leadership from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
His career as an industrial & organizational psychologist has taken him to a diverse range of industries and organizations including the military (U.S. Air Force), financial services (Fannie Mae), transportation & customer service (American Airlines), and healthcare (UT Southwestern Medical Center & Parkland Hospital), as well as consulting to organizations in retail, high tech, transportation, manufacturing and financial services.
Ben is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and takes an appreciative inquiry approach
in his consulting work.
Why did you become a professor?
I consider myself a life-long learner, and my first job after getting my PhD was teaching at the graduate level at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio. I loved the challenges of the classroom and making management theory and research applicable to students who were accomplished professionals with a very practical orientation. I continued teaching as an adjunct throughout my professional career in the Air Force and in business, which ultimately led me to University of Dallas (first as an adjunct in 2014 and a full-time faculty member since 2017).
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Interacting with students and understanding challenges in their jobs, organizations, and industries; helping to build informed management and leadership skills, behaviors, and practices; seeing the "aha" moments when students gain insight and learn something that is valuable in their work.
What do you hope students gain from your courses?
An appreciation for management and leadership research and best practices, new skills and knowledge that enhance their effectiveness at work and open doors to future opportunities, and an appreciation for how to best lead and work with others for greater effectiveness and engagement.
What did you do prior to entering academia?
In my first career in the Air Force, I served as an aircraft maintenance officer, behavioral scientist and personnel (HR) officer; then I worked eight years as an HR/Leadership Development consultant for PDI Ninth House (now Korn Ferry); and finally I served for ten years in Organizational Development & Training roles for several companies in the DFW area.
What are you passionate about outside of the University?
My coaching, training, and consulting practice; Family (my wife, three adult children, and four grandchildren), Church and home Bible study groups, travel.
What are your research interests?
Executive coaching process and effectiveness, leadership development, employee engagement, HR best practices.