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Jix Lloyd-Jones

RICHARD LLOYD-JONES       (1927-2014)

Professor Richard (Jix) Lloyd-Jones died peacefully at his home in Iowa City on October 7th at the age of 87. He had been  ill for some time, and was receiving hospice home care.

Jix was a native Iowan, born August 25, 1927 in Mason City. After U.S. Army duty toward the end of World War II,  he received a B.A. from the University of New Mexico in 1950 and an M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina in 1951.  He also married Jean Hall in 1951, and came to Iowa to pursue a PhD in English, which was awarded in 1957. In the same year, he was hired as a member of the English Department faculty.

Although Lloyd-Jones specialized in Victorian poetry in his doctoral program,  his attention quickly turned to the teaching of nonfiction writing, a field in which he became a national leader.  First as a teacher of writing for engineering majors, and then as a teacher of advanced composition courses in the English Department, Jix partnered with Carl Klaus to build a writing program which had no equal in the nation.

Both as an author and as an innovator, Lloyd-Jones earned national distinction and leadership positions among teachers of writing at all levels.  His 1964 book on research in the teaching of composition, co-authored with Richard Braddock and Lowell Schoer, became a benchmark work in this field. He subsequently developed programs for doctoral students to specialize in rhetoric and composition, and then the MA program in nonfiction writing,  both of which became national models.

Lloyd-Jones was involved from the beginning in the administration of the English Department. He served as director of undergraduate studies from 1965 to 1976, as well as director of the general education program in literature from 1965 to 1969. During that time, he developed a formal program for the training and mentoring of teaching assistants.  In 1976, upon the retirement of John Gerber, Jix was elected chair of the Department and director of the School of Letters, both positions which he occupied until 1985.

Jix was also prominent in the leadership of state and national professional organizations.  He chaired the College Conference on Composition and Communication, and in 1991 received their first Exemplar Award for professional service. He also served as chair of the National Council of Teachers of English,  and at various times chaired or was a member of five of its commissions.   Lloyd-Jones was a member of the board of the Association of Departments of English, and received their Francis Andrew March award for professional service.  He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Council of Teachers of English.

Few faculty members have ever served the University of Iowa with such distinction in so many different roles. Jix was first elected to the Faculty Council in 1957, and served on the Faculty Council or Faculty Senate for a combined total of 29 years. Along the way, he served as chair or secretary of both groups. He was the first chair of the University’s Undergraduate Scholarship Committee, and at various times throughout his career chaired the Human Rights Committee,  University Budget Committee, Committee on Public Relations,  and served multiple terms on six other University committees. Within his college,  Jix was a frequent member of the Liberal Arts Executive Committee and Educational Policy Committee, and was the first secretary of the Liberal Arts Assembly.

In his role as innovator, Lloyd-Jones’ accomplishments included the creation of the “English Semester”, a program in which a relatively small group of majors met daily in course work with three professors concurrently instructing them.  He was also the principal author of the CCCC Statement on the Students’ Right to Their Own Language, and a partner in developing a holistic approach to the evaluation of student writing for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

In retirement, Jix devoted himself to writing poetry, although only to be shared with friends and family members. He also wrote multiple essays about his family history and his Welsh ancestry.

We remember Jix Lloyd-Jones as a quiet and modest man, who left a giant imprint in all of his professional endeavors. Much of the way we view the teaching of writing at every level in the educational system, and the way we understand the organization and mission of English departments can be traced to his imagination and his efforts.

Submitted by

Professor John Harper