Richard Craig Receives Spirit of King Award

Richard Craig Receives Spirit of King Award

Richard Craig directs the MA program in the Department of Communication and teaches at the undergraduate and graduate level about the influence of the media. In recognition for his work, he received the 2021 Spirit of King Faculty Award as part of Mason’s annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Evening of Reflection event on January 28.

Craig was pleased to learn that he had been nominated. “I’d say all of my classes, in some way, shape or form focus on civil justice and equality, and in at least having these conversations.”

The ideas of equity and power underlie his work generally.

“A lot of my research is geared towards the idea of power, and structure of power, how it's built and how it's transmitted through media content,” he said. It is “motivated from the perspective of understanding people, understanding how we can get to better communication. We are diverse, but ultimately we have a lot of similarities that we can focus on, and help us become better, community wise.”

When not in the classroom, Craig is generous with his time, serving on Mason’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Transformative Education through Equity and Justice: Anti- Racist Community Engagement. “If there's a need for a voice at the table, perspective, and I hopefully can offer that, then I try to make myself available.”

The annual Evening of Reflection is hosted by Mason’s Coalition Building and Diversity Education, and co-hosted with University Life, Welcome2Mason, the Center For Culture, Equity, and Empowerment, Mason Votes, and Student Engagement for Racial Justice. The Spirit of King Award honors faculty whose teaching, research, or advocacy work for equality and social justice contribute significantly to the development of an inclusive learning environment at Mason.

Craig finds satisfaction in giving students the tools to navigate the structure of the media and use it to make change. “I know I'm discussing and exploring things that are sensitive and sometimes, you know, discouraging in some ways, but I also do it with the promise that we can be better. We're teaching, we're interacting with future leadership, whether that be in politics or in the newsroom or whatever role they're going to be in. We're having the opportunity to help them better understand what has been, and where we're at now, so that hopefully they make that difference at that next stage and that next level.”

In addition to Craig’s award, cultural studies student Shauna Rigaud received the Resounding Voice Award, which recognizes a student who has used their voice, through advocacy, activism, or community organizing, to work for marginalized identities and speak out against injustice at home and abroad.