Deborah L. Pierce, PhD

Associate Consultant

Deborah L. PierceOver her career of more than 30 years in higher education, Dr. Pierce has developed expertise in all areas of international education, including international enrollment management, active recruitment abroad, retention and services for international students and scholars, study abroad, and comprehensive internationalization. She offers a solid record in developing effective programs in international student retention as well as in international enrollment management and recruiting.

Campus experience

Recently retired from Northern Illinois University (NIU) as associate vice president for international affairs, Dr. Pierce generated enrollment increases of 43 percent over three years by creating and implementing NIU’s first-ever strategic plan for international recruitment and admissions. As NIU’s senior international officer, she also initiated active recruiting for international students and rebuilt the international admissions office and international student support and advising. With responsibility for overall internationalization at NIU, Dr. Pierce was recognized by the Institute of International Education and the Chronicle of Higher Education for having used the broad range of Fulbright programs to raise the global profile of NIU.

Prior to her appointment at NIU, Dr. Pierce served in a similar role at Loyola University Chicago, where she increased enrollment in Loyola’s signature Rome Center by adapting enrollment management strategies to study abroad. She also led international efforts at the University of Toledo (UT), where she was responsible for international recruiting and admissions, support for international students and scholars, study abroad, intensive English instruction, and comprehensive internationalization. Dr. Pierce also developed the first UT alumni organization outside the United States.

As an independent consultant prior to associating with Ruffalo Noel Levitz, Dr. Pierce has advised several public and private institutions on all areas of international education, including enrollment of and support for international students as well as comprehensive internationalization. She presents frequently at national and regional levels and is evaluated as an effective trainer by workshop participants.

Honors, memberships, and education

Dr. Pierce has developed a broad and deep network in international education through her service on several national boards, including the Association of International Education Administrators, Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars, and NAFSA, where she was elected to the executive committee as a vice president. She has been recognized for lifelong achievements in international education with life membership in NASFA and with the ELS Pathways Award for Lifetime Contributions to International Education. Dr. Pierce earned a PhD in linguistics from the University of Michigan and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Michigan State University.

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