Thomas M. Skrtic

School of Education - Special Education
Williamson Family Distinguished Professor of Special Education
Primary office:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
Room 525
University of Kansas
1122 West Campus Rd, Room 521
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101

Thomas M. Skrtic, Ph.D., is the Willamson Family Distinguished Professor of education in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas. His academic interests are classical pragmatism, institutional theory, and democratic social reform, which inform several of his published works, including Behind Special Education: A Critical Analysis of Professional Culture and School Organization (1991), Disability and Democracy: Reconstructing (Special) Education for Postmodernity (1995), and more recently, his contributions to Challenging Orthodoxy in Special Education: Dissenting Voices (Gallagher et al., 2004). In 2004 he was recognized in the Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership as one of the two most influential figures in reconceptualizing the philosophy and practice of special education, and in 2009 he received the Senior Scholar Award of the Disability Studies in Education interest group of the American Educational Research Association for his pioneering work in disability studies, as well as Syracuse University’s William Pearson Tolley Medal for distinguished leadership in lifelong learning.


Ph.D., Special Education, University of Iowa

M.S., Educational Psychology, California State University, Long Beach

B.S., Special Education, California University of Pennsylvania

Teaching Interests

  • Civic professionalism
  • Qualitative inquiry
  • Special education policy and leadership

Research Interests

  • Racial bias in special education
  • Institutional theory
  • Policy design and implementation

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