Dr. Anne Wessels Kelly is the Dean of the College of Leadership and Public Service and Chair of the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Dakota Wesleyan University, where she has taught since 2000. She earned her B.A. from the Evergreen State College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. As a Certified Psychological Autopsy Investigator, she has worked with bereaved individuals and families in several states to conduct psychological autopsy research, both at the request of the American Association of Suicidology and of those who have established contact privately.
“I would like to express my thanks to the members of the Board for inviting me to serve as President. I am honored that [the Board] has placed trust in me and am eager to be part of this talented and dedicated group. I am looking forward to a busy year promoting mental health and preventing suicide among college students.”
Anne began her work in suicidology as an undergraduate, assisting her advisor and the Nisqually Indian Tribe with the development of suicide prevention programs to build a healthier community. Her work in prevention programming was subsequently supported by the Sicangu Lakota Youth Center on the Rosebud Reservation, where she worked closely with undergraduate youth mentors to collaborate on creative expression projects. As a Certified QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Trainer, Anne supports suicide prevention by educating the public about signs of suicidal behavior. For her 2015 sabbatical semester, at the invitation of the Georgia Department of Health, Anne organized and analyzed county and state suicide data; collaborated with stakeholders to author a history of suicide prevention in Georgia; and made recommendations for future research and statewide prevention. Her efforts have been recognized many times at DWU, most recently with the Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013 and the Dave and Ann Mitchell Award for Exemplary Service in 2018. Dr. Kelly serves on the State Advisory Committee for South Dakota Youth Suicide Prevention and is the chair of the Mitchell Area Suicide Prevention Coalition.
“Anne is, without question, one of the top leaders in this sector in South Dakota and beyond,” says Executive Director Erik Muckey. “Our team will greatly benefit from her leadership, her passion, and her commitment to this field. We are fortunate to know Anne and work alongside her.”