Date Updated



TV, Radio, Film & Theatre

Academic Rank

Professor Emeritus

Year Retired from SJSU

2010 (FERP through 2013)

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Ethel Pitts Walker Collection

Educational Background

University of Missouri - Columbia, Theatre, 1975 Ph.D.

University of Colorado, Speech and Drama, 1965 M.A.

Lincoln University (Missouri), Education in Speech and Drama, 1964 B.S.

Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1960

Dissertation Title

The American Negro Theatre

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, Professor, 1989-2013

Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, Visiting Lecturer, 1988-89

University of California, Berkeley, CA, Visiting Lecturer, Spring 1988

Laney Community College, Oakland, CA, 1979-1980

University of Illinois, Urbana, CA, 1977-1979

Lincoln University, Jefferson City, MO, 1968-1977

Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA, 1965-69

Administrative and Professional Experience

Acting Chair of Television, Radio, Film, & Theatre Department, 2008-

Coordinator of Theatre Arts Program in the Department, 2006-2007

Directed over 25 plays

Ethel Walker, with her husband, has owned for almost forty years the African American Drama Company, a professional touring company that specializes in African American historical dramas.


Founding president of the Black Theatre Network

Past president of the California Educational Theatre Association

Past president of the Legislative Action Coalition for Arts Education.

Extensive Committee and Other University Service is listed in the CV.

Selected Publications


African American Scenebook, co-edited with Kathryn Ervin, published by Falmer Press, 1999

The New/Lost Plays by Ed Bullins: An Anthology, published by That New Publishing Company, 1994 (Presented Lecture as part of SJSU's Center For Literary Arts 1993-1994 University Authors Series, February 1994)

"The American Negro Theatre", Black Americans in the Theatre, Vol. II edited by Errol Hill, Prentice-Hall Publishing Co., 1980


"CETA Bibliography of Scenes from the African American Theatre", edited with Kathryn Ervin, Published by the California Educational Theatre Association, 1992


"What Every Student Affairs Professional Should Know, Student Study Activities and Beliefs Associated with Academic Success" (Co-written with SJSU Teacher/Scholars), Journal of College Student Development, Vol. 43, March/April 2002

Consulting Editor for May/June 2001 edition of Footstep Magazine

Copy Editor for Black Theatre's Unprecedented Times, Published by the Black Theatre Network and the African Grove Institute for the Arts, Spring 1999

"The Values and Virtues of Ourselves", Keynote Address Presented at the Black Theatre Network Conference, August, 1998 and Published in The Black Theatre Network News, Vol. 9, Fall 1998

Editor Blackstream (Scholarly Papers delivered at the Association for Theatre In Higher Education Conference), March 1997

"The Minority University", Multicultural Forum, Published by San Jose State University, Vol. 7, Spring 1996

"The Dilemma of Multiculturalism in Theatre", TDR: The Drama Review, A Journal of Performance Studies, Vol. 38, Fall 1994

"The TeachARTS Project", The California Educational Theatre News, Fall 1993

"Incorporating African-American Theatre into a Basic Theatre Course", Theatre Topics, Vol. 3, No.1, September 1992

"What is Traditional Theatre", ATHE News, Vol. 5, May 1991

"KRIGWA, A Theatre By, For and About Black People", Theatre Journal, October 1988

"Traditional African Theatre", Black American Literature Forum, Winter 1983

"The Role of the Theatre on College Campuses", Encore Journal, April 1981

Personal Commentary

In the 2/25/2014, Spartan Daily, Ethel Walker shared her thoughts on her experience at SJSU:

Walker said she has been fortunate to have worked not only in the TRFT department, but also in the African-American studies and creative writing departments at SJSU.

“The colleagues that I have been honored to work with are magnificent,” she said. “Not just as teachers, but as artists and as human beings.”

She said the friendships she’s made at SJSU go beyond anything you’d normally experience with your peers and colleagues.

“They truly mean something else to me,” she said.

She describes her students as exciting and inquisitive people who challenged her and pushed her to go beyond the norm in helping them grow and succeed.

“This (experience at SJSU) has been a wonderful part of my life journey,” Walker said. “It is time for me to leave, but I will miss it.”

Walker received many awards, including:

The Black Legends of Silicon Valley Award in Art/Theatre/Music, February, 2017

The Woman of the Year in Education Award from the National Coalition of Women of Silicon Valley, February, 2014

The Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Missouri College Of Arts & Sciences, February, 2008

The Outstanding Professor Award, San Jose State University, 2007

Educator of the Year Award, National Council of Negro Women, November, 2003

The SJSU Award for Research on College Teaching and Learning (a Collaborative work with the 1999-2000 Teacher/Scholars), May 2002

The Living Legend Award from the National Black Theatre Festival, Winston- Salem, NC, July 2001

The Dean's Exceptional Professional Achievement Award from the College Of Humanities and the Arts, May 2001

Outstanding Arts Educator Award, California Arts Council, March 2001

Also Inducted into:

The American Theatre College of Fellows at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., April 2002

The Educational Theatre Association Hall of Fame, August 2000

Additional awards are listed in the CV.



Download Curriculum Vitae (230 KB)

Walker, Ethel Louise Pitts