Erinn Barcomb-Peterson
KU News Service

University community mourns Distinguished Professor of Special Education Tom Skrtic

Wed, 12/01/2021

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas community is mourning Tom Skrtic, Williamson Family Distinguished Professor of Special Education, who died Nov. 19. He was 75.

Tom Skrtic, KU professor of special educaitonSkrtic came to KU in 1976 as an assistant professor in both the Department of Special Education and the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. He was promoted to associate professor in those departments in 1981 and to full professor of special education in 1990. He was named the Gene A. & Gretchen Budig Teaching Professor in Special Education for the 2005-2006 academic year and the Williamson Family Distinguished Professor of Special Education in 2015, a title he held until his death.

“Professor Skrtic was a dedicated scholar who made numerous contributions to his field of study and the lives of his students during his KU career that spanned more than four decades," Chancellor Douglas A. Girod said. "On behalf of the entire university community, I extend my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”

Skrtic’s scholarly interests included policy design and implementation, racial bias in special education and institutional theory. His teaching interests spanned the topics of civic professionalism, qualitative inquiry and special education policy and leadership.

Michael Wehmeyer, professor and chair of special education, said Skrtic was dedicated to the department’s doctoral students and doctoral program.

“Taking his course on civic professionalism was a shared experience by doctoral students in the department for more than 30 years,” Wehmeyer said.

Skrtic published numerous books and articles throughout his career and was lauded with awards, including many from KU, for his teaching and service to the university.

“Not only was Dr. Skrtic an internationally known scholar whose work impacted the field of special education for decades, he was dedicated to his students’ success and supported the work being done by his colleagues at KU,” said Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education & Human Sciences.

A memorial service will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St.

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