Navigating the Dissertation

Key Information

Navigating the Dissertation: Strategies for Doctoral Advising Faculty and Their Advisees (Second Edition), by Marianne Di Pierro

2021 [ISBN: 978-1-58107-353-9; 298 pages; 6 x 9 inch; soft cover] $29.95


This book examines the intricacies of the doctoral educational process and delineates a pathway for continuous improvement designed to shape and enhance better professional relationships between dissertation advisors, new and seasoned, and their advisees. Thus, its objective is to cultivate opportunities for increased retention and graduation. The book includes critical principles, interwoven with students’ and faculty’s real life experiences which serve as illustrative vehicles. Moreover, its innovative approach departs from other books that provide generally only a one-dimensional view, usually from the student’s perspective. The titles of many of these are couched in metaphors of survival and overcoming a threat, rather than centered in strong initiatives that lead to timely graduation in a supportive and encouraging environment. This book offers innovative leadership approaches to transport advisors and advisees to successful outcomes.

The Contents

01    Dissertation Advising: The Need for Collaborative Training Models
02    The Rules of Engagement
03    Defining Editing Expectations: More Rules of Engagement
04    The Toxic Committee
05    Considerations When Forming a Committee: For Advisees
06    Selection of the Advisee: For Faculty
07    Other Considerations for the Advisor as Leader
08    Vetting the Committee
09    Discovering the Dissertation Topic
10    The Concept Paper and the Quality Circle Review
11    Implementation of Editorial Commentary and Technology
12    Naming Conventions for Maintaining Draft Files
13    Working Against the Grain: For Advisors
14    Working Against the Grain: For Advisees
15    Dissertation Proposal and the Human Subject Institutional Review Board (HSIRB)
0000Protocol: Symmetry in Design
16    Preparing for the Oral Defense of the Dissertation: 17 Easy Steps
17    Bill of Rights for the Advisee/Advisor
18    Combating the  Dissertation Blues: Comprehensive Examinations—The Prelude
19    The Dissertation Writing Blues
20    The Dissertation Aftermath Blues
21    Debriefing: An Essential Final Step in Doctoral Education
22    New Forms and New Paradigms
23    Personalizing Academic Misconduct: An Approach for the Graduate Classroom
24    A Visionary Perspective for an Academic Resource Matrix
25    Blurred Lines: Ethical Considerations for Committee Members
25    Quick Takes
About the Author
Index of Book

The Author

Marianne Di Pierro holds the Ph.D. in English from the University of South Florida and is the former director of the Graduate Center for Research and Retention at Western Michigan University (WMU). As a graduate education specialist, she has coached more than 100 Ph.D. students across a spectrum of disciplines to degree completion. She holds graduate faculty status at WMU and is experienced in curriculum design, assessment and evaluation, policy development, and conflict resolution. She has been engaged as an expert consultant in graduate education for a law firm and has worked as a training consultant to graduate advising faculty. Di Pierro has participated in national research projects on Ph.D. completion and is principal investigator on several of her own studies that examine variables impacting doctoral attrition and retention. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented her research at professional conferences. Di Pierro is the current editor of the Journal for Quality Perspectives in Knowledge Acquisition and serves on the leadership teams for the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Education Division and the Health Care Division. She may be reached at the following email address:



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