Lead Instructors

As lead instructors, faculty, staff and graduate students work in conjunction with a current undergraduate peer facilitator to guide discussions within a section of FYS 101, hosting up to 19 students during the Spring 2022 semester. Discussions are anchored around increasing the sense of belonging on campus. Lead instructors are provided training and ongoing support throughout the duration of FYS 101. Throughout the semester, lead instructors lead weekly classes, host one office hour, and help students engage in class conversations as well as within the University community.

If interested in the Lead Instructor position for Fall 2022, please apply on SU Job Opps by Thursday, June 30.

Harriet BrownHarriet Brown (she/her/hers)
Professor | Magazine, News and Digital Journalism

“I’ve been advocating for a course like FYS for years because I think it’s crucial for students entering the University to begin to grapple with real-world issues of identity, equity and inclusion, and diversity. For me, teaching the class is putting my money where my mouth is. I also love getting to know freshmen/women as they’re beginning their college journey.”

Harriet Brown teaches courses in writing, reporting, editing, and equity and inclusion at the Newhouse School. She also co-directs the Fashion and Beauty Communication Milestone. Her most recent book is “Shadow Daughter: A Memoir of Estrangement.”


Shiu-Kai ChinShiu-Kai Chin (he/him/his)
Professor | Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

“I’m serving as a lead instructor because (1) I was invited by people for whom I have enormous respect, (2) it’s an opportunity for all involved to know each other as people beyond our institutional roles of students, staff, and faculty, leading to (3) affirming dignity for all and building common ground. Many, many people have helped me—this is an opportunity to pay it forward.”

Shiu-Kai Chin’s scholarship is in assuring the trustworthiness and security of systems. He is a facilitator and trainer in the Alternatives to Violence Program (serving a decade in Auburn Maximum Security Prison) and InterFaith Works’ Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism since the mid-90s. He is on the governing boards of the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority and WCNY (Public Broadcasting in Central New York) and has chaired the governing boards of the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS), InterFaith Works, and the Onondaga County/City of Syracuse Human Rights Commission.


Amy CrissAmy Criss (she/her/hers)
Professor and Chair | Department of Psychology

“This is the single most important thing we do on campus. Deeply engaging with the materials and discussions in FYS 101 has the potential to change individuals, our campus and surrounding community, and the communities wherever our students may go.”

Amy Criss joined the University in 2007. She was raised in Akron, Ohio and currently lives in the city of Syracuse. Criss and her husband have a son and a dog.


John DannenhofferJohn Dannenhoffer
Associate Professor | Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

“Syracuse University has a unique culture, which is likely very different than first-year students had before coming to SU.  To perpetuate this SU culture, and to helping oncoming students “bleed orange” outside the sports stadiums, it is important that they learn to live the values that SU places on diversity and inclusion.”

In addition to an active research program, Dr. John Dannenhoffer teaches a wide variety of aerospace engineering courses, from incoming first-year to doctoral students. Since its inception, he has been teaching FYS101 and its predecessor.


Michael Norris

Michael Norris (he/him/his)
Assistant Professor | Coordinator of Health and Physical Education Program | Coaching Minor

“As a person who has been given the opportunity to move forward in many arenas, and to learn and grow as a person and professional, I will work to observe and listen to students in this class and help facilitate their transition to Syracuse University in the best way possible.

I am thankful of completing my doctorate at The Ohio State University in Physical Education Teacher Education and Adapted Physical Education. As a facilitator, mentor, advocate, and friend to many students, staff, and faculty, my goal is to work to help others move forward (pay it forward) wherever I can as others have helped me in my goals in life. My motto is the glass is always half full!”


Sheriah DixonSheriah Dixon (she/her/hers)Director | Office of Community Standards

“I wanted to become a FYS 101 instructor because I love engaging in meaningful conversations with students. The four years spent at college is a life changing experience. Being a part of that journey through conversation with our students in a way that will plant a seed about how they view the world as it relates to community, inclusion, and identity is powerful.

I am the director in the Office of Community Standards. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my two boys and husband. We like to travel and experience fun and different places outside of Syracuse. I love the gym as I run, lift, and do kickboxing. For me, those are times for me to clear my mind and just enjoy my surroundings.”


Gus NascimentoGus Nascimento (he/him/his)
Academic Advisor | School of Architecture

“I wanted to join the FYS 101 team as their mission matches my philosophy of creating possibilities for the expansion and construction of knowledge while engaging students in the exploration of self.”

Gus Nascimento holds a master of science in higher education and student affairs administration from Canisius College. Previously, Gus worked at the University at Buffalo as an academic performance specialist and at Canisius College as an engagement coordinator. Gus’ goal is to always provide a welcoming and encouraging place for all students, while assisting them with their transition to the University.