Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

Faculty & Staff Directory

Brian L. Kelly, PhD

Title/s: Assistant Professor, Director of the Advanced Accredited Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor Training Program

Office #: Maguire Hall 520

Phone: 312.915.7479


CV Link: B. Kelly (Spring 2018)

Mission in Action

My research and scholarship are dedicated to promoting social justice through the study and prioritization of strengths-based approaches to social work practice with vulnerable and oppressed populations. Most recently, this work has resulted in several studies exploring the use of recreational, art, and music-based services for young people experiencing homelessness on the south side of Chicago. Findings suggest that these services are unique, powerful, anti-oppressive, and socially just ways to engage young people’s strengths. As an educator, I work with students to create transformative educational environments. In these spaces, I challenge students to become effective agents of change for social justice in local, national, and global contexts. 


Brian L. Kelly received his BSW, MSW, and doctorate in social work from University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work. His research explores current and historical uses of recreational, art, and music-based activities in social work and related fields as sites and opportunities for strengths-based social work practice. He holds an associate degree in audio engineering from Full Sail University and incorporates audio documentary and other audio-based ethnographic methodologies in his work as means to increase strengths-based, participatory research practices. Dr. Kelly has several years of clinical experience working with individuals with substance use issues as a certified alcohol and drug abuse counselor. In addition, he has several years of practice experience working with the homeless, including adults living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic medical conditions as well as young people. Dr. Kelly is an advocate for the advancement of social work practice with groups and teaches group work and substance use courses at the graduate level.

Program Areas

Teaching Interests:

  • Evidence informed and strengths-based social work practice
  • Group work
  • Substance use and treatment
  • Multiculturalism
  • Research and evaluation
  • Social justice and anti-oppressive practice with young people

Courses Currently Teaching:

  • Social Work Practice with Groups (SOWK 505)
  • Substance Abuse Treatment in Groups (SOWK 724)
  • Integrative Practice Seminar (SWFI 631S)
  • Interprofessional Practice with At-Risk Youth (SOWK 676)

Research Interests

  • Historical and current uses of recreational, art, and music-based services in social work and related fields
  • Strengths-based research and services for young people experiencing homelessness
  • Qualitative methods with a focus on ethnography and audio and video-based performance ethnography
  • Interdisciplinary research and alternative forms of data representation, including audio documentary

Recent Funded Research

  • 2016-present: Principal Investigator. “Collaboration, Strength, and Skill Development in a Music Studio for Young People Experiencing Homelessness.” Loyola University Chicago Summer Research Stipend Program. $7,000.00.
  • 2015-present: Co-Principal Investigator. “Evaluating Arts-Integrated Civic Practice Programs.” Paul M. Angell Family Foundation. $25,000.00.
  • 2015-present: Principal Investigator. “Fifth House Ensemble Residency Programs with Teen Living Programs.” International Association for Social Work with Groups, Special Projects Program. $900.00.