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NMSU welcomes 46 new faculty members for fall 2012

  • By Jay Rodman
  • 575-646-1996
  • jrodman@nmsu.edu
  • Sep 13, 2012
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An authority on Native American tribal finance and economic development, a theatre director, a specialist in Chicana/Latina issues, a computer scientist working in the area of artificial intelligence - these are among the 46 new faculty members being welcomed to the New Mexico State University Las Cruces campus for fall 2012.

Also represented among them are academic department heads in Languages and Linguistics, Sociology, and Civil Engineering, as well as a new superintendent of the John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center at Mora.

"This is a robust hiring class for the university, particularly considering the current economic situation," said Executive Vice President and Provost Wendy K. Wilkins. "All of our academic colleges were successful in hiring new colleagues, as was the NMSU Library."

The intensive hiring effort was supported in part by a Board of Regents decision to allot $1 million in funds to Academic Affairs for that purpose, Wilkins said.

The majority of the new faculty members are entry-level assistant professors.

Below are brief biosketches of several faculty members starting at NMSU for fall 2012:

Owen T. Burney recently completed his Ph.D. in silviculture at Purdue University. His primary research area is forest regeneration, with a focus on ungulate browsing behavior and young stand management. He spent the past year in Afghanistan on a project managed by Purdue to strengthen Afghan agriculture faculties at Kabul University. An assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, he assumed his new position as superintendent of the John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center at Mora on Sept. 4.

Judith Flores Carmona comes to NMSU from Hampshire College, where she was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Critical Literacies and Pedagogy. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Her research interests include Chicana/Latina feminist theory, critical race feminism, oral history, social justice education, and testimonio methodology and pedagogy. She will report to both the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education and to the Honors College.

Felipe Castillo is the new business librarian for the NMSU Library. He just finished his M.S. in library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His academic preparation has been augmented by graduate assistantships in the UIUC Library Reference, Research and Scholarly Services Department and the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Josh Chenard earned an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he went on to head up the performance area in the theatre department. He has worked for 20 years in educational, regional and professional theater. As an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, his NMSU directorial debut will be Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," the first play to open in the university's new Center for the Arts.

Gavin Clarkson is an expert in Native American tribal finance and economic development. An enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, he holds an M.B.A. from Rice University, a doctorate in technology and operations management from the Harvard Business School and a J.D. from the Harvard Law School. Most recently, he was on the faculty at the University of Houston Law Center. He has also taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan. He is an associate professor in the Department of Finance, College of Business.

Glenn W. Fetzer is a professor of French and the new head of the Department of Languages and Linguistics in the College of Arts and Sciences. He holds a Ph.D. in French literature from the City University of New York and is a specialist in contemporary French poetry. He comes to NMSU after 25 years in the Department of French at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., including a stint as chair. In addition to speaking English and French fluently, he has studied German, Arabic and Hungarian.

Peter Kopp, who just finished his Ph.D. in history at the University of Nevada, is the newly appointed director of NMSU's Public History Program and an assistant professor in the Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences. His research interests are the American West and agricultural and environmental history. His dissertation, "A History of Hoptopia: The Local and Global Roots of a Willamette Valley Specialty Crop," was an expansion on work he began as a master's student at Portland State University.

Krishna Kota is a new assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Central Florida and comes to NMSU from a research position at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Laboratories. His primary research interests are in energy systems and renewable energy, and the cooling of electronics.

Gail M. Leedy earned her Ph.D. in psychobiology from Tulane University and also holds an M.S.W. in mental health from Ohio State University. Most recently, she chaired the Department of Social Work at Appalachian State University. In addition to her university teaching, research and administrative work, she also has experience as a medical social worker. She is a full professor in the School of Social Work, College of Health and Social Services and serves as the M.S.W. program coordinator for the social work graduate program at NMSU's Albuquerque Center.

William Yeoh received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Southern California and was most recently employed as a research scientist in the School of Information Systems, Singapore Management University. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, College of Arts and Sciences. His dissertation topic was "Speeding Up Distributed Constraint Optimization Search Algorithms." His research area is artificial intelligence, with special interest in heuristic search and multi-agent systems.


College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Steven J. Archambault, Ag Economics & Ag Business Asst Prof
Owen T. Burney, Plant & Environmental Sciences Asst Prof
Amy C. Ganguli, Animal & Range Sciences Asst Prof
Merranda R. Marin, Family and Consumer Sciences Asst Prof

College of Arts and Sciences
Young Sun Lee, Astronomy College Asst Prof
William Yeoh, Computer Science Asst Prof
Ilana Lapid, Creative Media Asst Prof
Francisco J. Alatorre, Criminal Justice Asst Prof
Peter Kopp, History Asst Prof
Glenn W. Fetzer, Languages & Linguistics Dept Head
Gabriela E. Moreno, Languages & Linguistics Asst Prof
Roberta M. Arruda, Music Asst Prof
Christopher A. Hughes, Music Assc Prof
Cesar Martinez Bourget, Music Asst Prof
John C. Pierce, Music Asst Prof
David G. LoConto, Sociology Dept Head
Jennie M. Luna, Sociology & Hon College Asst Prof
Cynthia Pelak, Sociology Asst Prof
Josh K. Chenard, Theatre Arts Asst Prof

College of Business
Charlotte C. Gard, Econ & International Business Asst Prof
Comfort F. Ricketts, Econ & International Business Asst Prof
Gavin Clarkson, Finance Assc Prof
Matthew P. Holt, Finance Asst Prof

College of Education
Anna L. Lopez, Counseling & Ed Psych Asst Prof
Christina E. Vento, Counseling and Educational Psy College Assc Prof
Blanca E. Araujo, Curriculum & Instruction Asst Prof
Judith F. Carmona, Curric & Instr, & Hon College Asst Prof
Mary L. Fahrenbruck, Curriculum & Instruction Asst Prof
Cecilia M. Hernandez, Curriculum & Instruction Asst Prof
Denise M. Strawn, Educational Management & Dev College Instructor
Raquel S. Aranda, Human Perf Dance & Recreation College Instructor
Hannah G. Cole, Human Perf Dance & Recreation Asst Prof
Zhen Chai, Special Ed & Comm Disorders Asst Prof
Loana K. Mason, Special Ed & Comm Disorders College Asst Prof

College of Engineering
Thomas A. Manz, Chemical Engineering Asst Prof
Peter T. Martin, Civil Engineering Dept Head
Ahmed Elaksher, Surveying Engineering Asst Prof
Luke Nogales, Engineering Technology Asst Prof
Rolfe Sassenfeld, Engineering Technology Asst Prof
Wei Tang, Klipsch Sch of Elect Computer Eng Asst Prof
Krishna Kota, Mechanical Engineering Asst Prof

College of Health and Social Services
Joseph S. Gladstone, Health Science Asst Prof
Maria A. Gurrola, Social Work Assc Prof
Gail M. Leedy, Social Work Professor

NMSU Library
Felipe Castillo, Library Reference & Res Svcs Asst Prof
Josefine Cresswell, Library Reference & Res Svcs Asst Prof

More information about many of these individuals is available on NMSU's college and department websites. Go to www.nmsu.edu.