Portrait of RTS

Richard Todd Stafford
Director of Communications
4400 University Drive MSN 1F4 | Fairfax VA 22030

last updated: 26 March 2022


Honors College, George Mason University
Director of communications (June 2019 – Present)
Instructor and digital initiatives coordinator (August 2015 – June 2019)
Graduate technical director: Research, technology, and online community (June 2013 – June 2014)
Graduate teaching assistant: HNRS 110 (Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013)

University Libraries, George Mason University
Distance Education Assistant (June 2014 – August 2015)

Department of Cultural Studies, George Mason University
Graduate teaching assistant: CULT 320 (Spring 2014)

New Century College, George Mason University
Graduate teaching assistant: NCLC 203 (Spring 2012, Spring 2013)

Saylor Foundation
Consulting Professor for OERs (August 2012-June 2013)

Department of English, Virginia Tech
Graduate assistant: ePortfolio committee (Summer 2010, Summer 2011)
Graduate teaching assistant: ENGL 2614 (Fall 2010 – Spring 2011)


George Mason University
PhD Cultural Studies (Defended, conferral in Aug 2022)

Virginia Tech
MA English (2011)

College of William and Mary
BA English (2001)

Publications and Presentations

Book chapter
“The politics of space in Joe Sacco’s representations of the Appalachian coalfields.”  In The comics of Joe Sacco: Journalism in a visual world ed. Daniel Worden, 123-139. Jackson MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2015.

Journal articles
“Response to Caroline West’s ‘From company town to post-industrial: Inquiry on the redistribution of space and capital with a Universal Basic Income’” Lateral 8, no. 1 (2019).

“Towards an epistemological theory of comics journalism: Case studies in Joe Sacco’s war reportage.” Public Knowledge Journal 3, no. 4 (2011). [Journal defunct; website down]

Conference papers
“How not to have an energy transition. The case of ‘clean coal.'” Dimensions of Political Ecology (March 25, 2022): Virtual.

“Breaking things in the coal industry: A reply to Gavin Mueller’s Breaking Things at Work.” Cultural Studies Association national conference (June 11, 2021): Virtual.

“The art of coal waste: Disjunct temporalities in the use of coal waste as a material in contemporary fine art.” Cultural Studies Association national conference (May 24, 2017): Washington, DC.

“Towards an ecocritical theory of comics journalism:  Spatial practices and affective engagements in Joe Sacco’s representations of inequity in the Appalachian coal fields.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association national conference (March 27, 2013): Washington, DC.

“The epistemology of comics journalism.” International Communication Association international conference (May 28, 2012): Phoenix, AZ.

Frankenstein’s hideous progeny go forth: Reception theories, participatory culture, and distributed cognition.” Virginia Tech English Graduate Student Organization conference (February 2012): Blacksburg, VA.

“Bela Tarr’s Werkmeister Harmonies: Diegetic space and ideology.” Virginia Tech English Graduate Student Organization Conference (February 2011): Blacksburg, VA.

“Towards an epistemological theory of comics journalism: Case studies in the war reportage of Joe Sacco.” Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association regional conference (October 2010): Alexandria, VA.

“‘Mutual aid’ and ‘the struggle for existence’ in Darwinist fiction: Representations of the primate as natural Other in H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine and Peter Dickinson’s Eva.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association national conference (April 2, 2010): St. Louis, MO.

Other presentations
“Challenges for sustainable energy infrastructure transitions in the Anthropocene: A preliminary report on fieldwork concerning ‘clean coal’ in a community along the Ohio River” Presentation at University Scholars Institute, George Mason University (Fall 2019).

“What’s ‘social’ about the ‘social cost of carbon’? Or, does the rising sea level lift all ships?” Presentation at Cultural Studies Student Organizing Committee’s Cultural Studies Colloquium student panel, George Mason University (Fall 2018).

“Coal mining, labor unrest, and automation: Opening remarks before a screening of the PBS documentary The Mine Wars” Presentation to YDSA student organization, George Mason University (May 2017).

“Ethical and political relations to the distant Other in Hedges and Sacco’s Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” Presentation to New Century College Cornerstones students, George Mason University (September 2013).


George Mason University
HNRS 411 Honors College Thesis: Research and Creative Projects Seminar
Instructor of record (Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019)
Assisting Dean Zofia Burr (Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017)

HNRS 410 Honors College Thesis Proposal: Research and Creative Projects Seminar
Instructor of record (Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Summer 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019)
Assisting Dean Zofia Burr (Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017)

HNRS 361 Multidisciplinary Practicum
Research and Creative Projects Seminar (Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022)
Teaching Climate Change – assisting Dr. Melanie Fedri (Summer 2020)

HNRS 360 Multidisciplinary Topics
Energy and Culture (Fall 2019, Fall 2021)

HNRS 353 Technology in the Contemporary World
Clean coal and culture (Spring 2018)
Science, technology, and power (Spring 2016, Spring 2017)

HNRS 330 Research, Technology, and Online Community
College application coaches – with Kareema Smith and Eva Bramesco   (Spring 2019)
Communications research team (Fall 2018)
Early Identification Program research team (Spring 2018)
CAART research team (Fall 2017, Spring 2018)
OER textbook project (Spring 2017)
University Libraries information cycle project team (Fall 2016)

CULT 320 Globalization and Culture (Fall 2019)

HNRS 261 Community Connection Practicum: College Application Coaches
Instructor of Record, with assistance from Eva Bramesco and Jasmyne Rogers (Spring 2020)
Assistant to Eva Brameso (Spring 2021)

NCLC 203 Inquiry to Action (Spring 2012, Spring 2013)

HNRS 110 Research Methods
Instructor of Record (Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017)
Graduate teaching assistant (Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013)

EIP 0909 Climate Change and Civic Engagement Pre-Honors Seminar (Summer 2020)

Student Transition Empowerment Program Critical Reading Workshops (Summer 2017, Summer 2018, Summer 2019)


David W. Rossell Quill Award, George Mason University (2021)
Exceptional Support Award, George Mason University (2015)
XCaliber Award, Virginia Tech – with ePortfolio for English team (2011)
Carol Chermside Award for Best Master’s Thesis, Virginia Tech (2011)


Jack Kent Cook Foundation funding for EIP Pre-Honors Seminar – PI for EIP, Honors College, and University Library team (2020)

Summer support for dissertation research, Cultural Studies/CHSS (2019)

4-VA 2015 Open Educational Resources Grant – PI or OER team (2016-2017)

Selected University Service

Organizer, Climate Justice and Energy Transition student reading group program (2020-present)

Co-organizer, Center for Humanities Research Environmental Justice reading group (2020-present)

Faculty Advisor, Virginia Environmental Justice Summit (2020-present)

Chair, Honors College strategic communications committee (2018 – present)

Faculty Supervisor, Honors College communications interns (2018 – present)

Chair, Honors College space committee (2018 – present)

Member, Honors College curriculum committee (2016 – present)

Coronavirus instructional continuity team (Spring 2020)

Honors College designated “Blackboard champion” for ed tech consultations (Spring 2020)

Chair, Honors College website committee (2016-2018)

Advisor, Honors College Volgenau School of Engineering majors (2016-2018)

Member, Honors College advising committee (2016-2018)

Member, University Libraries tutorial team (2014-2018)

Member, Honors College data committee (2017)

Substitute member, university Student Educational Planner committee (2017)

Member, University preferred names and pronouns policy proposal committee (2016)

Reviewer: Media, War, and Conflict (2015)

Library representative (substitute), University distance education council (2015)

Co-organizer, University Libraries distance education roundtable (2015)

Participant, University Libraries teaching and learning roundtable (2015)

Presenter, University Libraries tech talks (2014-2015)

Member, University Libraries website committee (2014-2015)

Member, University Libraries committee on digital media policy (2014-2015)

Selected Community Engagement

Save Our Streams (benthic macroinvertebrate citizen science project) Chair, Warren County VA Izaak Walton League (2021-present)

Save Happy Creek Coalition representative, Warren County VA Izaak Walton League (2020-2021)

Board Member, Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River (2021-present)