- Dean of the School of Education at the University of Southern California
- Former Dean of the School of Education at the University of Kansas
- Oversaw opening of the School of Education’s new academic building, JRP
- Former Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education at the University of Cincinnati
- Senior Policy Consultant and Staff Director for the Committee on Education Improvement for the Ohio General Assembly
- 1992: author of book Shaping School Policy: Guide to Choices, Politics, and Community Relations
Karen Symms Gallagher served as Dean of the School of Education at the University of Kansas for only a short time, but her time spent saw many changes for the School, and her expert guidance left a lasting impact.
Dean Gallagher earned her BA in Political Science from Western Washington University-Bellingham and her MEd in Communications from the University of Washington. She began her career as a Language Arts and Social Studies teacher for five years in Washington (state) public schools. She then transitioned to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina city schools as Director of Instructional Resources for three years. Her PhD in Education Administration was completed at Purdue University in 1982. She joined the University of Cincinnati faculty in 1985, where she served as a Professor of Education Administration and the Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education.
Her research interests include implementation of education reform at the state level, working with corporate and business leaders on education policy, particularly on school choice, accountability, curriculum reform, and quality administration of educational enterprises. She served as the Senior Policy Consultant and Staff Director for the Committee on Education Improvement for the Ohio General Assembly and was the author for the book Shaping School Policy: Guide to Choices, Politics, and Community Relations, published in 1992. Dean Gallagher has also spent time with her husband in Portugal working to improve the country’s education systems.
She came to the University of Kansas as Dean of Education in 1994, bringing with her both experience and creativity. Her leadership led to the creation of the Institute for Educational Research and Public Service to help faculty obtain external research grants, reorganization and consolidation of departments, and new teacher licensure standards, which were a monumental shift in teacher training. reorganized and consolidated depts. She travelled the Southeast corner of the state, working closely with the education community and superintendents there to improve the effectiveness of schooling for every child and family. Dean Gallagher also oversaw the opening of the school’s new academic building, JRP, which cost $14million to renovate and add to the old residence hall. The new home for the School of Education housed offices, classrooms, labs, and clinics.
Dean Gallagher left the University of Kansas in 2000 to become the Dean of the School of Education at the University of Southern California. In response to this new challenge, she clarified, “The problems are the same in California [as in Kansas]. You just have to multiply them by 50.”