Dawn Johnson

Dawn Johnson
Associate Professor
Phone: 315.443.3130
Address: 350 Huntington Hall
Academic Program Area Focus: Higher Education

Dawn R. Johnson is Associate Professor of Higher Education. Her scholarly work focuses on equity in STEM education through examining the effects of the campus racial climate and classroom climate on the persistence and sense of belonging of students of color in STEM, particularly for women of color. Johnson has collaborated with campus partners to fulfill her scholarly agenda, including serving as:

  • Co-Principal Investigator for Louis Stokes Renewal STEM Pathways and Research Alliance: New York State's Upstate LSAMP and co-investigator for a research project to develop a culturally-informed instrument to assess students' experiences in research programs and labs. 
  • Co-Principal Investigator for the Upstate NY Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program grant Upstate New York LSAMP: Strengthening the Pipeline between Two- and Four-Year Institutions. Johnson is one of the lead researchers examining students’ perceptions of the classroom environment, the impact of undergraduate research experiences, and sense of belonging and STEM identity.
  • Lead Faculty Advisor for WiSE Women of Color in STEM, a program to empower women of color in STEM through building community, fostering a sense of belonging and identity in STEM, and promoting and supporting academic, personal, and professional development. Johnson also was Co-Principal Investigator for the project Fostering resiliency in undergraduate women of color in STEM. Johnson and colleagues published a book chapter on the success of the program in Intersectionality and Higher Education: Theory, Research, and Practice (2nd ed.)

Johnson also partnered with the former Office of Institutional Research & Assessment in a study of the experiences of students of color on campus. This collaboration resulted in the Syracuse University (SU) Student Experience Survey that focused on the perceptions students had of the environment in the classroom, residence hall, and campus overall. The findings from their work was published in Review of Higher Education. The project is a model for bringing together faculty expertise with administrative resources to help an institution address issues related to student success.

Johnson has also previously served as an instructor for research in the Summer Academy for the McNair Scholars Program.



  • Ph.D. University of Maryland, Counseling and Personnel Services, College Student Personnel Administration
  • M.Ed. Springfield College, Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Personnel Administration
  • B.A. Bowdoin College, Anthropology

Research & Scholarship

Research Focus:

My research focuses on students of color in STEM fields and their experiences of the classroom and campus climate at predominantly white institutions, with special attention to women of color.

Johnson’s research focuses on students of color in science and engineering, with special attention to the experiences of women of color. Johnson is a Co-PI for the Upstate Louis Stokeas Alliance for Minority Participation and co-investigator for a research study to develop a culturally-informed evaluation tool to assess students' participation in research activities. Her previous with LSAMP resulted in the development of a survey to explore students' experiences in the classroom, sense of identity and belonging, academic and career goals, research experiences, and stress. 

Johnson has also serve as a lead faculty advisor for SU's WiSE Women of Color in STEM program since it's inception in 2014, and is co-founder of SOE's CritQuant Research Group, which is focused on integrating critical theoretical perspectives with quantitative research methods to address equity and social justice issues in educational research. Previously, Johnson was involved in a collaborative research project with SU's Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) which examined the experiences of students of color on campus, including issues related to campus and classroom, climate, residential living, sense of belonging, stress, and persistence. 



Johnson was named Senior Scholar Diplomate after concluding a five-year term as one of 13 Senior Scholars for ACPA-College Student Educators International. She also was previously honored by ACPA as a Senior Scholar in Residence for the Coalition of Women’s Identities, Diamond Honoree, Emerging Scholar, and Annuit Coeptis Emerging Professional.

Johnson is currently serving in a 3-year term as an Associate Editor for The Journal of Higher Education. She most recently concluded service as an Associate Editor for the Journal of College Student Development. Johnson was recognized for Excellence in Graduate Education by Syracuse University.

Courses Taught

HED 721 College Student Develoment I

HED 722 College Student Development II

HED 730 Internship in Higher Education