Dr. Marianne Di Pierro

DrDiPierroI hold a Ph.D. in English from the University of South Florida. As the Director of the Graduate Center for Research and Retention at Western Michigan University (WMU), I have successfully coached to graduation 75 Ph.D. students in diverse fields, from public affairs and administration, interdisciplinary health, and sociology, to history, education, evaluation research and measurement, geosciences and mathematics. A graduate education specialist, I conduct research on and publish in areas such as doctoral retention, time-to-degree, and attrition, among others. Efforts to retain students at my university have resulted in a compendium of services that the Center provides, such as ongoing statistical consultation throughout the research process, as well as workshops, seminars, and presentations, all of which are focused in defined graduate student needs such as publication, the ethics of research, research database management, quantitative and qualitative research methods, time management, among others, all designed with student success as a primary goal. In addition, I am a conflict resolution strategist, working with graduate students and their advisors to help resolve issues that complicate the graduate student experience. I also lend my expertise to students in the cultivation of the CV, resume, and cover letter, as well as prepare them for interviews, conference presentations, research grant proposal development, and also coach in salary negotiation. In addition, I work with tenured faculty on publications, as well as work with those on the tenure track who are preparing publications for the tenure bid.

My philosophy in working with graduate students is to continuously ask and then answer two questions: “What do graduate students need in order to be successful? What do graduate advising faculty need to know to help their graduate students become successful?”


Di Pierro, M. (2013). Strategies for doctoral student retention: Taking the roads less traveled. Quality Approaches in Higher Education.

Di Pierro, M. (2011, May). Personalizing academic misconduct: An approach for the graduate classroom. Journal of Faculty Development, 25(3).

Di Pierro, M. (2011, January). Higher education: Caveat emptor. American Society for Quality (ASQ) Education Division, Workforce Development Brief.

Di Pierro, M. (2011, January). Innovations for navigating the doctoral dissertation. Journal of Faculty Development, 25(1), 12–20.

Di Pierro, M. (2010, October). Disambiguation: Through the looking glass—From debriefing to process improvement. Journal for Quality and Participation, 33(4).

Di Pierro, M. (2010, Fall). The observation tower: Perspectives on the dissertation. QED News, American Society for Quality Education Division.

Di Pierro, M. (2010, June). Doctoral process flowcharts: Charting for success. American Society for Quality (ASQ) Higher Education Brief, 3(4).

Di Pierro, M. (2010, April). Health care education: Making a difference in the lives of graduate students. Journal for Quality and Participation, 33(1), 15–17.

Di Pierro, M. (2010, January). Preparing for the oral defense of the dissertation. American Society for Quality (ASQ) Higher Education Brief, 3(1).

Di Pierro, M. (2007, June). Debriefing: An essential final step in doctoral education. Journal for Quality and Participation, American Society for Quality, 2, 14–16.

Di Pierro, M. (2007). Excellence in doctoral education: Defining best practices. College Student Journal, 2, 368–375.

Di Pierro, M. (2006, May). Doctoral retention strategies: Taking the roads less traveled. Paper presented at the Education Policy Institute Retention 2006 Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

Di Pierro, M. (2003, January). A call to a revolutionary change in doctoral education. Paper presented at the Hawaii International Conference on Education.

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