Kelly was named chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology in 2011, after serving as interim chair for a year. She has taught administration of higher education, critical issues in higher education and student affairs, student services, seminar in higher education, and college teaching. She previously taught at Oklahoma State University and worked as an administrator and faculty member at the University of Montana.
Kelly is interested in faculty issues including integration of teaching, research, and service; work and family concerns for faculty; faculty career development; and faculty diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She is also interested in the service role of higher education including faculty outreach and engagement.