The dean of the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences died Nov. 12 at age 75.
As part of the memorial service, friends, colleagues, students and alumni are encouraged to share thoughts on the longtime administrator and associate professor to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Alice Skeens.” These messages will be included in a presentation and will need to be one or two sentences long to fit on the screen. Submissions are requested by noon Thursday, Nov. 17.
A native of Lovern, W.Va., Skeens came to Toledo in 1960 through a National Defense Scholarship Program and was a teaching assistant for three summers before becoming a full-time instructor in the former University Community and Technical College. Four years later, she moved to the College of Arts and Sciences as an assistant professor and undergraduate adviser. Skeens served as assistant dean and associate dean for student affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1982, she was promoted to associate professor and later served as assistant to the president from 1987 to 1997.
At the beginning of 1997, she returned to full-time teaching as associate professor of psychology. “Teaching has always been my first love,” she said, calling her return to the classroom “one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Administration is something I wandered into, although I kept teaching all along and I don’t regret my time as an administrator.”
She didn’t desert administration entirely, serving as interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 2008 to 2009, and was named associate dean in 2010. When the college was divided later that year, she was tapped as a founding dean.
Active in Faculty Senate, she became its first woman chair in 1982, and was elected to a second term in 2003. As well, she served on the organization’s board. Her participation in the University Women’s Commission stretched back to the organization’s early days at UT in the 1970s. Women’s issues, especially in the early days of a growing national consciousness, were close to her heart, and in the 1970s she was faculty adviser for the UT chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta, a national scholastic honor society for freshmen women.
Her extensive service at UT — she once noted that she may have served on every standing committee at the University — also included Graduate Council, the President’s Commission on Student-Centeredness, and the NCAA Self-Study Steering Committee.
The Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women named Skeens its Woman of the Year in 1994; in 2005, she received the UT Outstanding Adviser Award.
She earned her doctorate in guidance and counselor education from UT in 1972, in addition to a master’s degree from West Virginia University and a bachelor’s degree from Concord College. She was a member of the Presidents Club and the UT Alumni Association.
Skeens was preceded in death by her husband, Franklin Skeens; sisters, Crystal Frazier, Mabel White and Edith Hypes; and brothers, Jo, Charlie, Carlyle and Marvin Thorne. Surviving is her son, Charlie (Cindy) Skeens; grandchildren, Kirsten, Molli, Jenna and Josh Skeens; sister, Elaine; and many loving nieces, nephews and cousins.
Calling hours will take place Thursday, Nov. 17, from 2 to 8 p.m. at Bersticker-Scott Funeral Home, 3453 Heatherdowns Blvd. View and sign Skeens’ condolence page at berstickerscottfuneralhome.com.
The family suggests memorials to the UT Athletic Department, the Alice Skeens Scholarship Fund at the UT Foundation or the Quota Club.