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Jerald Walker

5/4/2010, 9:34 p.m.

Jerald Walker

Jerald Walker is leaving Bridgewater State College this fall to become an associate professor of creative writing at Emerson College, where he will become the fourth African American to have tenure in the school’s 129-year history.

Since 2002, Walker has been teaching English courses at Bridgewater, where he won tenure two years ago. At Emerson, he will teach creative writing, African American Literature and literary nonfiction in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing.

Last year, Emerson’s promotion practices came under scrutiny after two African Americans were denied tenure. An external review recommended the college focus on hiring black academics, like Walker, who already have tenure elsewhere.

Earlier this year, Random House published Walker’s “Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion and Redemption,” which relates his unusual transformation from a drug-abusing dropout and petty criminal into a well-credentialed academic. The Chicago native recently read from his memoir at the Mattapan branch library.

Walker has a master’s degree in creative writing from the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Iowa. Both degrees are the highest awarded in the respective fields. His wife, Brenda Molife, is a top assistant to Bridgewater State President Dana Mohler-Faria.