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SJSU News Archive

Date: 03/19/2007

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris at 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, Calif., -- Ethel Pitts Walker of the Department of Television, Radio, Film and Theatre within the College of Humanities and the Arts at San Jos?? State University is the recipient of the 2006-2007 Outstanding Professor Award. This award is one of the top four faculty awards given annually at SJSU.

"Professor Walker is recognized as a master teacher whose greatest strength is the ability to translate her vast academic and professional experience into the content of her teaching," said President Don W. Kassing. "Her teaching style is so clear, so challenging, so informative and so enjoyably full of passion and energy that she creates a vibrant, emboldened student-learning community."

A faculty member since 1989, Walker consistently earns top marks in student evaluations. She teaches fundamental courses for lower division students, upper division scholarly courses in theatre history, and graduate seminars. She has also directed many theatrical productions including ancient Greek drama, contemporary African American drama, and experimental performances. Her students have expressed their deep satisfaction in working with her on these ambitious projects.

"A student knows from their first interaction with Dr. Walker that they are in the presence of an educational force of nature that not only knows the business of education well, but has the uncanny ability to convey complex ideas to the novice and keep the student hungering for more," one student said.

Walker's dedication to teaching extends well beyond the classroom. She has served on the College of Humanities and the Arts Curriculum Committee, where her voice has been important in assuring that curriculum changes and program reviews enhanced the educational experience of students. She has also been a prominent member of the college's Inclusive Excellence Advisory Board, where she played a significant role in shaping the college's strategy for improving yield, retention, and graduation rates.

Strengthening student and faculty diversity is a top priority for Walker. She has been the Faculty-in-Residence for Diversity for SJSU's Center for Faculty Development and she has taught outside her department in the Creative Arts and African American Studies programs. She and her husband own the African American Drama Company, a 30-year-old professional touring company that specializes in the performance of African American history plays. In addition, she is the founding president of the Black Theatre Network, a national organization of theatricals.

Walker's achievements have been recognized by numerous organizations. She was appointed to the San Francisco Arts Commission by former Mayor Willie Brown. She is a recipient of the Living Legend Award from the National Black Theatre Festival and has been inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre Association. Walker received a doctoral degree in theatre from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a master's in speech and drama from the University of Colorado, and a bachelor's in education in speech and drama from Lincoln University.

San Jos?? State is Silicon Valley's largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 4,000 employees. SJSU is part of the California State University system, the nation's largest senior system of higher education. SJSU's 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation's 10th largest city.