Dean Honored as Education EntrepreneurJanuary 9, 2013 — USC Rossier School of Education Dean Karen Symms Gallagher has been named a Pahara-Aspen Education fellow, a highly selective honor designed to support entrepreneurial leaders who are committed to transforming public education.
Gallagher is the first dean of a school of education to receive this prestigious accolade, 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.
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 improve public education.
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,” said Kim Smith, founder and CEO of the Pahara Institute. “These leaders are working tirelessly to create equity and excellence in our public schools.”
In 2009, under Gallagher’s leadership, USC Rossier launched the school’s online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, the first of its kind from a major research university. USC Rossier offers several path-breaking online programs: Master of Arts in Teaching; Master of Arts in Teaching- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and a Master of Education in Advanced Instruction. They are delivered through an online platform that mimics the on-campus experience, with live, interactive classes, self-paced coursework and placement in K-12 classrooms wherever the student lives.
Rossier online programs are the full equivalent of on campus programs, offering a USC experience that includes the same faculty, curriculum, student support services, and alumni resources.
The Rossier online programs cannot be compared to MOOCs or for-profit university programs.Â
Since it began, the MAT has graduated more than 1,200 teachers, a tenfold increase over USC Rossier’s longstanding on-campus program. MAT students live in all 50 states and 40 countries.
USC Rossier also is making a unique commitment to its graduates that, as teachers, they will be able to achieve one year’s academic growth for their students each year. If they do not, the school will support them until they do. Faculty and graduates are determining the best way to do this through ongoing support and resources throughout their careers.
“When it comes to innovation and reform, most schools of education are the problem, not the solution,” said education entrepreneur John Katzman, founder of Rossier’s technology partner, 2U. “Dean Gallagher and her team, on the other hand, have built a School of Education into a true change agent.Â She is not just a thought leader; she is a do leader.”
In September, Gallagher and her faculty opened USC Hybrid High School. This unique public charter school is located in a downtown Los Angeles high-rise and serves 130 local 9th graders, mainly from high-need communities where they were at risk from dropping out. USC Rossier partnered with committed start-up funders, LAUSD, and community leadership to make this school a reality. Students often have adult-sized responsibilities – either jobs or family-care obligations – that make a traditional 8 am to 3 pm school schedule impossible. Hybrid High uses technology, personalized programs and schedules, and increased access to school to set up students for success.
Gallagher also led the redesign of USC 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 USC Rossier’s new Global Executive Ed.D., which enrolls students from around the world in a hybrid program of face-to-face and online coursework to prepare international leaders for 21st century global education needs.
“Dean Gallagher has changed the landscape of education by opening new channels of access to students of all ages and backgrounds, and by challenging the notion that traditional educational structures will produce the most successful outcomes for all learners,” said USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett.Â “She has had a significant impact on USC Rossier students – both on campus and online — who will be among the most innovative educators in the world, and she has helped ignite a passion for discovery in many of our neighborhood’s underserved K-12 students.Â Through this honor, Dean Gallagher’s peers acknowledge her ambition and creativity in redefining public education.”
Previous Pahara-Aspen Fellows include such notable education reform leaders as John Deasy, superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District; Cami Anderson, state district superintendent for Newark Public Schools; Kaya Henderson, chancellor of D.C. Public Schools; Kevin Hall, president and CEO of Charter School Growth Fund; and Jon Schnur, co-founder of America Achieves.
The Pahara-Aspen Fellowship is a partnership between the Pahara and Aspen institutes. Fellows become members of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, which includes nearly 1,600 leaders from 45 countries.
The mission of the USC Rossier School of Education (ross-EAR) is to improve learning in urban education locally, nationally and globally. Rossier leads the way in innovative, collaborative solutions to improve education outcomes. Our work is field-based, in the classroom, and online, and reflects a diversity of perspectives and experiences. We pride ourselves on innovation in all our programs, preparing teachers, administrators, and educational leaders who are change agents. We support the most forward-thinking scholars and researchers, whose work is having direct impact on student success in K-12 schools and higher education.Â We are leaders in using cutting-edge technology to scale up our quality programs for maximum impact. The Rossier School of Education is part of The University of Southern California, one of the world’s leading private research universities, located in the heart of Los Angeles.
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