University of Southern California

About USC

Karen Symms Gallagher

Karen Symms Gallagher

Since becoming dean in 2000, Karen Symms Gallagher has focused the USC Rossier School of Education on its mission to improve learning in urban education locally, nationally and globally. The School’s highly innovative graduate programs prepare students to be change agents as teachers, school leaders, and scholars.

Under Gallagher’s leadership, Rossier launched its groundbreaking online Master of Arts in Teaching degree in 2009, which has grown the number of highly trained teachers ten-fold in three years. The School also pioneered the practitioner-focused education doctorate, the Ed.D, that is now a national model. Gallagher’s team then launched its Global Executive Ed.D. program in 2012 to prepare senior education executives from around the world for the challenges of the 21st century. In Los Angeles, she and her faculty have partnered with LAUSD on a variety of field-based initiatives  — the most exciting of which is USC Hybrid High School, a transformational charter school using personalized curriculum, technology and flexible schedules to assure success for students most at risk of dropping out.

Gallagher was recently named a 2013 Pahara-Aspen Fellow, the first school of education dean to be so honored, as part of a cohort of two dozen nationally known education entrepreneurs and reformers.  She was the recipient of the Los Angeles Urban League’s Social Responsibility Award and, in 2011, received the Phi Delta Kappa International Service Key by the USC chapter of PDK, the premiere international association for educators.

Last Updated: 1/22/13