The dean of the University of Utah Graduate School of Education, Cecil G. Miskel, a nationally prominent leader in education, has resigned, leaving in part because of the tax-limitation cloud hanging over higher education, a U. official says.

Dr. Joseph L. Taylor, U. vice president of academic affairs, confirmed that Miskel has submitted his resignation, effective Sept. 30, to become the education dean at the University of Michigan.Miskel, who is out of town this week, could not be reached for comment. He has been dean since March 1983. He was appointed chairman of the educational administration department in August 1982 after serving nine years as professor of educational administration at the University of Kansas.

Taylor said he, along with U. President Chase N. Peterson and Provost James Clayton, met with Miskel a couple of weeks ago, trying to persuade him to stay.

Although Taylor said that he can't speak for Miskel, the vice president did report that Miskel, in that meeting, said he is leaving reluctantly. Taylor said the dean indicated he feels the U., in these days of tight program budgets with the possibility of more cutbacks if the tax-limitation measures succeeds, can no longer offer the promise that it once did of becoming a national leader in education.

For Miskel, Taylor reported, the threatening presence of the tax-limitation measures was "the straw that broke the camel's back after three years of no new money for his faculty's salaries and the third year of a budget crisis."

The U. made a counteroffer to Michigan's, offering Miskel a substantial salary increase, but Miskel decided the future looked brighter for higher education in Michigan, the vice president reported.

"What we couldn't guarantee him was the future of the university," Taylor said.

The vice president said Miskel's exit is a major blow to the U. "I regard Cecil Miskel as one of the top deans, one of the most effective deans at the U. There has been great improvement at the Graduate School of Education under Miskel," Taylor said.

Miskel brought the U. into the national education arena by his membership on the executive committee of the Holmes Group, a high-level, national group of educators leading the way in reforming the curricula for training teachers.

With him, Miskel takes his membership in the Holmes Group to Michigan.

Taylor said Miskel is not the only dean looking for another job. He said he knows of several other deans and many faculty members who have their eyes on out-of-state offers.

Faculty morale has been affected by program cuts, little or no salary increases for most faculty and staff for three years, and salaries that are 20 percent lower than at comparable, out-of-state institutions, Taylor said.

An acting dean will be appointed to fill Miskel's place after Taylor meets with the four chairmen of the departments in the Graduate School of Education. A successor will be named after a nationwide search is conducted.