Three Faculty Promoted to Associate Professors

Dr. Aric Mine promoted to associate professor

Three faculty members in the College of Science and Mathematics have gained tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professors. To become an associate professor, one has to serve at least 6 years in a probationary period as an assistant professor. During the period, the faculty member must engage in activities that promote teaching excellence, research and service to the university. The promotion process is rigorous and involves, research, publication of academic papers and peer and collegial reviews.

Dr. Aric Mine: Associate Professor Earth and Environmental Science

Statement from Dean Dr. Christopher Meyer

Dr. Mine is commended for his outstanding work in designing and developing several courses for the Environmental Science major, many of which integrate professional experiences into the course curriculum. Dr. Mine recently created and designed the highly relevant course EES 5 (Climate Change), which covers GE area B1.

The reviewer found he has done superb work as a mentor for our collaborative NSF Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program, in which he works with a senior graduate student at UC Merced. 

Additionally, Dr. Mine has built and maintained a productive lab in the interdisciplinary, flexible lab space of JARC, where he represents the college. The lab is a perfect fit for several strands of his research, including projects related to nutrient delivery and microbial activity in aquatic systems. 

Mine has served on numerous and varied department, college, and university committees, highlighted by his service on the United Nations Global Compact Committee, the University Writing Committee, the College Curriculum Committee, and a faculty representative on the JARC Advisory Board.

Personal Statement from Dr. Mine

Creating new classes and exploring different topics with students has been engaging and meaningful; interacting and working with students excite me about science and what I do. 

Fun Facts Not Found in his CV. 

Mine likes to explore the outdoors outside campus life, primarily by bike.

“I’ve slowly engaged in the pickleball craze with some friends, but most of my time is spent happily being Dad. Oh, and I’m slowly making my way through John Le Carre’s spy novels,” Dr. Mine said. 

Dr. Mario Banuelos: Associate professor Mathematics

Early tenure, Statement from Dean Dr. Christopher Meyer

Dr. Banuelos has developed an impressive teaching portfolio across the curriculum, including general education courses, upper-division courses for majors, and graduate courses. 

Notably, he has played a vital role in developing a new programming course for majors (MATH 120) and a statistics course for biology majors (MATH 102). His deliberate community-building in and outside his courses and the continual growth and refinement of his pedagogical approaches have allowed him to thrive as a teacher in the Fresno State ecosystem.

His colleagues have found much to praise in his use of active learning approaches, technology, and the stimulation of critical thinking in his courses. He has established a very active research group that includes undergraduate and graduate students working on various exciting interdisciplinary projects using mathematical biology approaches (including ML and AI). 

He has published 12 peer-reviewed papers in respected journals or refereed conference proceedings.

Dr. Banuelos’ field is inherently interdisciplinary, and his file reflects many active collaborations with colleagues at Fresno State and other institutions, including UC Merced, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the University of Chicago, and Valley Children’s Hospital. 

His exciting and diverse projects include the development of novel mathematical approaches to model valley fever in the region and democratizing data science and data science education. Dr. Banuelos is an outstanding department, college, university, and community citizen and colleague, highlighted by his engagement in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (DEI) service efforts. 

He is also committed to collaborating with colleagues in capacities far beyond narrower committee responsibilities. Beyond the campus, he has served in key leadership positions in SIAM, SACNAS, and the Pacific Mathematics Alliance to effectively promote and enhance DEI and make mathematics (and STEM in general) a welcoming space for all.

Statement from Dr. Banuelos 

Some of the achievements I find most meaningful are:

  • I have co-authored 4 conference papers with undergraduate and grad students and have mentored over 20 students in research during my time at Fresno State.
  • Being a Co-PI on the Data Science Curriculum Grant with the University of Chicago (with has supported 5 Fresno State students to get experience in Data Science for Social Impact projects.
  • I was one of the OER Faculty Fellows for CFE. This opportunity helped connect me with programs like Enseñamos IDEAS Lab and has influenced my decision to have zero-cost course materials (ZCCM) and remove exams from all my courses.

Fun Facts Not found in his CV. 

  • One of my favorite things is to make people coffee/tea (that’s why my office always has both) and get to know more about them.
  • My motivation to be and remain a faculty member is to share my experience as a first-generation college student and the son of an immigrant and farmworker with students who may come from similar backgrounds and to support students with all resources available while removing barriers.

Dr. Ettore Vitali: Associate professor Physics

Early Tenure: Statement from Dean Dr. Christopher Meyer

He has developed and refined an outstanding teaching portfolio, including lower and upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and advanced research experiences. 

A charismatic and dynamic teacher, Dr. Vitali uses a variety of active learning and High-Impact Practices to engage students in an inherently complex and challenging discipline, including 7 lower division courses (90 students/class) that include many biology and engineering majors who often find physics very tough. 

It is also notable that Dr. Vitali is not content to rest on his laurels, as his success has inspired him to “keep exploring and improving” in training the next generation of STEM professionals. He continually reflects on feedback from students, colleagues, and professional development workshops. 

Notably, Dr. Vitali has been recognized with two Provost awards for his accomplishments – “Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times” (2020) and “Promising New Faculty” (2022). 

Dr. Vitali is a creative and productive scholar- he has established a very active research group that includes undergraduate and graduate students working on various exciting projects using computational approaches. One of his students earned an Honorable Mention in their National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. And he has already graduated 3 MS students. 

Dr. Vitali plays an active role in recruiting, including visits to nine high schools to present the Physics program and his research program in computational physics; he also has incorporated outreach and recruitment activities into his grant proposals as part of his broader impacts. 

From Ettore:

My heartfelt desire as a faculty member is to guide our students during the transformative learning process. I want to help them gain skills that will support their unique personal and professional growth, and, even more importantly, I want to walk with them and support them as they navigate through the waves of challenges, successes, and failures.

Fun Facts Not in his CV: 

When not teaching or doing physics research, I love spending time in nature with my wife, from climbing mountains to kayaking in the Pacific Ocean. In addition, I have a passion for meditation at the psychological and spiritual levels. It has helped me navigate difficult emotions in the past, and I hope to share what I have learned with students, colleagues, and our community.