Pahara Institute Names Dean Gallagher as Education Fellow

Karen Symms Gallagher

Dean Karen Symms Gallagher

USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher was named a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, a highly selective program designed to support extraordinary entrepreneurial leaders who are committed to transforming public education.

Gallagher is the first dean of a school of education to receive this prestigious honor, which recognizes her leadership and the commitment to creating innovative solutions and defining new ways to provide an equitable and excellent education for underserved children.

She joins 23 other accomplished leaders in the spring 2013 cohort of fellows.

“We are excited and energized by the extraordinary leadership talent represented in this new cohort of Fellows,” said Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and CEO. “These leaders are working tirelessly to create equity and excellence in our public schools, and we are honored to be able to support them in this work.”

Only approximately 100 education leaders have been honored with the fellowship, which provides exceptional leaders with the unusual opportunity to step back from their demanding daily work to reflect with peers on their collective and individual impact as change agents.

Under Gallagher’s leadership, USC Rossier has designed and implemented a number of groundbreaking initiatives which have garnered attention across the country.

In 2009, she and her faculty launched the school’s online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)  program, the first of its kind from a major research university. The robust technology platform with live synchronous classes is blended with field-based teaching experiences in each student’s own community. Since it began, the MAT has graduated over 1200 teachers, a tenfold increase over Rossier’s on-campus program. MAT students live in all 50 states and 40 countries.

Gallagher also led the redesign of Rossier’s practitioner-focused Ed.D. program, in which doctoral candidates solve real problems of practice in the field through work in thematic dissertation groups. The Ed.D. has become a model for doctor of education programs nationally, and is the basis for Rossier’s new Global Executive Ed.D, enrolling students from around the globe in a hybrid program of face-to-face and online coursework.

In September 2012, Dean Gallagher and her faculty opened the new Los Angeles public charter school, USC Hybrid High School. This innovative new learning environment serves students most at risk of dropping out with individualized and self-directed curricula, new technology tools to manage their own schedules, and expanded school hours for those with jobs or family care obligations.

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship is a two-year, cohort-based program that aims to identify transformational leaders in education reform, facilitate their dynamic growth, and strengthen their collective efforts to dramatically improve public education.

The fellowship is a partnership between the Pahara and Aspen Institutes, and Pahara-Aspen Fellows also become members of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, which includes nearly 1,600 leaders from 45 countries.