David Jolliffe is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Arkansas, where he was the initial occupant of the Brown Chair in English Literacy. He earned a B.A. in English, magna cum laude, from Bethany College in 1974; an M.A. in English from West Virginia University in 1980; and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas in 1984. A native of New Martinsville, West Virginia, Jolliffe began his career as an educator at Triadelphia High School and then at Wheeling Park High School, where he taught both English and theatre. Jolliffe has also taught at West Virginia University, Bethany, the University of Texas, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and DePaul University. At the University of Illinois at Chicago, he served as the Director of Composition, Director of the Writing Center, and Director of Writing in the Disciplines in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. At DePaul, he was Director of Writing Programs for one year before becoming the initial Director of the Interdisciplinary First-Year Program. He moved to Fayetteville in 2005 to inaugurate the work of the Brown Chair, whose mission is to promote critical and effective literacy among Arkansans in all walks of life.
The author or editor of 14 books and more than 40 articles on the history and theory of rhetoric, the teaching of writing, and the preparation of writing teachers—most recently The Arkansas Delta Oral History Project: Culture, Place, and Authenticity, published by Syracuse University Press—Jolliffe has always connected his work to the arts, particularly to theatre. His office sponsored a program called SISTA (Students Involved in Sustaining Their Arkansas), which linked Arkansas High School students with University of Arkansas mentors as both parties develop proposals for community sustainability projects, and the Arkansas Studio Project, which offered arts-infused literacy-enrichment activities in secondary schools in Springdale, Arkansas. He acts regularly with The Classical Edge Theatre Company, which offers free, outdoor productions of William Shakespeare’s works in Northwest Arkansas and throughout the state, and with the Northwest Arkansas Prison Story Project, which develops and performs original plays based on the writing of incarcerated inmates. Recently, he initiated the Latin/x Youth Theatre Project and produced a new play called FOLLOW ME@TIO SAM.