Ethel Pitts Walker

San Jose, California

“It is my belief that the real goal of the academy is to prepare students to be productive individuals who will make meaningful contributions to the society; theatre is the tool by which the lessons are taught,” said Dr. Ethel Pitts Walker, a thirty-five year veteran of theatre education. She has taught at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Lincoln University in Missouri, the University of Illinois-Urbana, Laney Community College in Oakland, the University of California-Berkeley, and San Jose State University. She also served as a guest lecturer at Wayne State University in Detroit for a year.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University, a master’s from the University of Colorado, and a doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

“Lincoln proved to be a high point of my theatre education career as I grew to understand the importance of truly caring about young people and their success outside as well as inside the classroom,” she said, “and to realize that some of the most effective learning takes place on stage, on the road traveling to educational events, and in informal gatherings.”

Dr. Walker, the founding president of the Black Theatre Network, joined the Educational Theatre Association after a joint conference with the California Educational Theatre Association in San Diego. She is also a member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the National Conference on African American Theatre.

Dr. Walker was president of the Legislative Action Coalition for Arts Education, a lobbying organization that works to ensure arts education is made available to all students in California.

“Ethel has made a difference,” wrote Patty Taylor, who worked with her on a California Department of Education committee. “She inspires us when we are in despair and is forever an optimist.”

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