Dean Karen Symms Gallagher, Ph.D.
Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean
The Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California
Expertise: Education policy and administration expert…additional information.
Karen Symms Gallagher is the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education. Since assuming this role in 2000, she has led her faculty, students, staff and alumni in a strategic plan with a mission of strengthening urban education locally, nationally and globally.
Dean Gallagher has been a professor, scholar and academic administrator at both public and private research universities throughout the United States. Before joining USC, she was the dean of education at the University of Kansas and prior to Kansas, she directed Ohio’s Commission on Educational Improvement.
Dean Gallagher’s distinguished career has established her reputation as one who transforms educational organizations to successfully achieve their goals. Under her leadership, the USC Rossier School, which celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2009 -2010, has risen to #15 among all education graduate schools in US News and World Report’s 2013 national rankings. Its highly innovative masters and doctoral programs prepare educational leaders to be change agents as teachers, administrators, policy leaders and scholars.
The hallmark of Dean Gallagher’s leadership style is creating mutually beneficial partnerships to rethink and resolve complex educational and social issues facing our own neighborhoods, our nation and the world. One of these partnerships is with the educational technology company, 2U, with whom the Rossier School launched a groundbreaking online Masters of Arts in Teaching degree in 2009, the first of its kind from a major research university. The program, which now enrolls 2000 students from 45 states and two dozen countries, received the American Association of Colleges in Teacher Education (AACTE) Award for Innovation in Technology. It now has over 500 graduates, many of whom are teaching in traditionally hard-to-staff schools.
On a global scale, Dean Gallagher has established APRISE (Asia Pacific Rim International Study Experience), which is building linkages with universities and school systems throughout Pacific Rim countries, promoting faculty/student exchanges, research opportunities, and new graduate programs that prepare administrators worldwide for 21st century university leadership.
Locally, Dean Gallagher and her faculty have recently been awarded a charter from the Los Angeles Unified School District to open USC Hybrid High School, an innovative, personalized school designed to serve students most likely to drop out due to job and family-care obligations. The school will be open up to 12 hr/day, 7 days/week and year-round, dramatically increasing students’ access and chances for success.
In 2007, Dean Gallagher led the effort to bring Math for America to Los Angeles. USC partnered with Harvey Mudd College and Claremont Graduate University and together they have raised over $2 million to support the preparation of high school math teachers for hard-to-staff schools. She is the Principal Investigator for two grants totaling $4 million from the National Science Foundation to expand the Math for America Los Angeles cohorts over a five-year period.
Dean Gallagher is currently serving on an unprecedented national public-private partnership to support President Obama’s initiative to add 10,000 new STEM teachers in 10 years. In 2010, she served as a member of the National Institute of Health’s Pathfinder Award Committee which honors innovative projects that successfully recruit minorities and women into careers in STEM fields.
In 2011, Dean Gallagher was awarded the Phi Delta Kappa International Service Key by the USC chapter of PDK, the premiere professional association for educators with thousands of members worldwide. The service key is awarded to members who have contributed meritorious service, outstanding leadership, or significant research and is voted on by an international committee. Dean Gallagher was also awarded the Los Angeles Urban League’s Social Responsibility Award in 2010. Dean Gallagher has published four books: Shaping School Policy: A Guide to Choices, Politics and Community Relations (1992) and Politics of Education Yearbook: The Politics of Teacher Preparation Reform (2000), College Bound (2010), and Urban Education: A Model for Leadership and Policy (2011). She has also written dozens of scholarly articles for publications such as Educational Policy, Research in Higher Education, and Early Education and Development.