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NMSU vice president for research candidates visit campus

Five candidates are finalists for vice president for research at New Mexico State University. The VPR is the chief research official at the university, plays a central role in all national and international activities related to research policy and provides leadership to the university in identifying emerging research opportunities.


“The members of the search committee have spent the last six months recruiting and identifying qualified candidates for the position of vice president for research,” said search committee chair Donna Wagner, dean of NMSU’s College of Health and Social Services. “This is a position of critical importance to the faculty and the university as NMSU moves forward in its mission of research, teaching and service as a land-grant institution. We are extremely pleased by the national interest in our open position and the quality of the applicants.

“The committee hopes that NMSU faculty and staff take the time to attend the presentations of these finalists and use the online tool to evaluate each of them,” Wagner said. “Today, we are hosting Dr. Christian Fritsen. The next few weeks we will host the following finalists: Dr. Constantinos Tsatoulis, Jan. 22-23; Dr. Ajay Mahajan, Jan. 24-25; Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Feb. 5-6; and Dr. Luis Vazquez, Feb. 8-9. Their CVs and the schedule can be found online. Each candidate has an on-campus interview that includes an open forum for faculty, staff and students to attend and learn more about the candidate. The on-campus visits began this week and will continue into February.”

The first candidate, Christian Fritsen, has been program director of Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems for the National Science Foundation since 2015. He also has been a research professor in the Division of Earth & Ecosystem Sciences at the Desert Research Institute in Nevada since 2003. He has served as graduate faculty in the Hydrology and the Environmental Sciences Graduate Programs at the University of Nevada Reno since 1999.

He has a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Southern California. His on-campus interview concludes today.

Constantinos Tsatoulis will visit campus Jan. 22-23. He has been dean of the College of Engineering at the University of North Texas and professor in the Department of Computer Sciences and Engineering since 2008. He was interim dean for the Toulouse Graduate School at UNT from 2015-2016. Tsatoulis was the chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Kansas from 2004-2008.

He has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University.

Ajay Mahajan will visit NMSU Jan. 24-25. He has been a professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Akron since 2009. He served as associate vice president for innovation (a vice provost position) from 2014-2015 and special assistant to the president for innovation from 2013-2014. Mahajan was associate dean for research in the College of Engineering from 2009-2015.

He has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Tulane University.

Luis A. Cifuentes will visit NMSU Feb. 5-6. He has been vice president for research, commercialization and outreach at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi since 2012. He was interim executive director of the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi from 2014-2015. Cifuentes was associate vice president for research and scholarly activities and dean of graduate studies at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi from 2010-2012. He has been a professor of physical and environmental sciences since 2010.

He has a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Delaware.

Luis A. Vazquez will have on-campus interviews Feb. 8-9. He is the current interim vice president for research at NMSU, serving since 2017. Vazquez has been associate vice president for research at NMSU since 2011. From 2007-2011, he was associate dean at the Graduate School at NMSU. He was selected as a Regents Professor in 2006 in counseling/educational psychology. Vazquez also has been a corporate diversity consultant since 2008 for Kochman Mavrelis Associates.

He has a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Iowa.

For more information, please see NMSU’s administrative search website at https://webcomm.nmsu.edu/hire/.