Skip to main content

Kelly Bass will be New Chair of USD Department of Social Work

Photo of Kelly Bass. Kelly Bass, Ph.D., has been named chair of the University of South Dakota Department of Social Work.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Kelly Bass, Ph.D., has accepted the position as chair for the University of South Dakota Department of Social Work, effective May 22, 2021.

Bass has been at USD since 2016, serving as an associate professor of social work and directing the Master of Social Work program as well as the university’s Child and Adult Advocacy Studies Certificate program.

He received a doctorate in Social Work in 2015 from the University of Tennessee, and a Master of Social Work degree in 2001 from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In 2018, Bass completed the Management Development Program at Harvard University. Before coming to USD, Bass served as faculty and chair of the undergraduate social work program at Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Bass has extensive research experience and has also provided mental health services at a community mental health center. He has procured grants from the Association of Social Work and has been a collaborator with USD’s statewide telehealth programs providing information and guidance regarding opioid abuse in South Dakota.

Bass is a board member of the National Alliance on Mental Health, South Dakota Chapter. He is also a member of the Council of Social Work Early Childhood Mental Health and Developmental Neuroscience National Task Force and serves the national social work association by helping to review and shape licensing and regulations for the field, as well as serving as a site visitor determining accreditation and re-accreditation assessments for social work bachelor and master’s programs at universities and colleges across the country.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News