Tenured in the department of Television, Radio, Film, and Theatre, Ethel Walker also has also taught in the departments of African American Studies and Creative Arts. She has taught at the University for over twenty years and is now in the Faculty Early Retirement Program. Walker has served on most major committees of her department, College, and the university. Throughout her career, Professor Walker has directed over twenty-five productions, the most recent being George Wolfe's Colored Museum, and written two books, The New/Lost Plays of Ed Bullins and The African American Scenebook. Her writings have been published in numerous scholarly journals, magazines, books, and newspapers.
Professor Walker is the founding president of the Black Theatre Network, a national organization of theatricans, past president of the California Educational Theatre Association, and past president of the Legislative Action Coalition for Arts Education. She is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre Association and received the Living Legend Award from the National Black Theatre Festival. She was also inducted into the Educational Theatre Hall of Fame. She was recognized as the 2007 San José State University Outstanding Professor, and received the 2008 University of Missouri-Columbia Distinguished Alumni Award. The California Arts Council recognized her as one of the 10 outstanding arts educators in the State in 2001 and was appointed by Mayor Willie Brown, Jr. to sit on the San Francisco Arts Commission. She is a member of the Consortium of Doctors, a national organization of women with doctorate degrees. She is also a member of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco. She and her husband, Phillip, own the African American Drama Company, a thirty-two-year-old professional touring company that specializes in African American historical dramas.
A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Professor Walker is a graduate of Lincoln University in Missouri, the University of Colorado, and the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her teaching career includes positions at Southern University, Lincoln University, the University of Illinois-Urbana, Laney College, Wayne State University, and the University of California, Berkeley.