Annette Walstad

Dean of Students/Title IX | Student Life
Get In Touch
Annette Walstad Portrait


Annette Walstad has 30 years of student services experience in higher education. She holds a BA from Carroll College (1986) and an M.Ed. from MSU-Bozeman (2002). Annette started her career in the Carroll admissions office before continuing her higher education journey at Loyola New Orleans, MSU-Bozeman, Helena College, and the Office of Commissioner of Higher Education.

Annette returned to Carroll in July 2010 as the Director of Academic Advising and Support and was part of the team that developed the Saints Success Center, a one-stop area for many of the academic support services on campus.  The Saints Success Center includes Academic Advising, Health Professions Advising, Career Services, Veteran Services, Global Learning, Accessibility Services and the Testing Center.   Annette served as interim VP for Student LIfe for several months in the 2016-2017 and 2018-2019 academic years before being named Dean of Students & Title IX Coordinator in May 2021.

Many of the departments providing direct student resources are supervised by the Dean of Students.  These areas include the Wellness Center: Health and Counseling, Residential Life and Housing,  Student Activities and Leadership, Outdoor Recreation.  Annette says that one of the most rewarding aspects of her position is fostering positive relationships with students, and providing appropriate support that allows them to discover who they are and what they are called to do with their lives.    

Annette was a recipient of the Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award in February 2020. For more than 30 years, the award has honored college faculty, administrators, staff, and students for their outstanding work on behalf of first-year students and for the impact their efforts have on the students and culture of their institutions. Annette is one of just ten recipients chosen from 93 nominations from across the country to receive this distinction from the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.

Read the full press release about her award.

Read Annette's Acceptance Speech

Annette's Acceptance Speech

Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award

My first advocates were my parents who did not attend college but had this expectation for their seven children, all of whom earned a college degree. When I went off to college after loading up my 1980 red diesel Rabbit and getting ready to drive 450 miles across the state, my dad – a dryland wheat farmer from NE Montana – offered me two pieces of advice. 1. "Study hard;" and 2. "Don't pick up hitchhikers. You look like a dumb farm kid on your way to college." Well, thankfully, I succeeded on both accounts.

I am a typical 'first gen' student who didn't have many college-educated role models, was academically underprepared for college, changed majors five times, planned to drop out or transfer each spring, but somehow persevered. I believe my relationship with my academic advisor, Dr. Harry Smith, kept keep me progressing. My advisor, who had high expectations and challenged me on so many levels, also had great faith in me and was a constant source of encouragement to stretch myself. I studied abroad and completed an internship before ‘high impact practices’ were recognized as such and each profoundly impacted my life.”

Other advocates in my life include Candie Cain, Sandy Merdinger, Jim Hardwick, and Cathy Day who allowed me to support, love, and nurture students in creative ways. Currently, I am so blessed to work with an amazing team of advocates in the Saints Success Center, Residential Life, Student Activities, Student Recreation, and the Wellness Center at Carroll College. The work our team does every day for students inspires me to be better.

Annette loves many things but on the top of the list are her family, crazy dog, stained glass, college students, winter, and Carroll College.  In June 2019, Annette and her 87 year old mom, Nina Walstad, traveled with Carroll professor, Dr. Jeanette Fregulia, and Director of Global Learning, Shannon Ackeret, and 15 Carroll students to the Middle East (Israel, Jordan and Egypt). One of the many highlights of the trip was experiencing the Holy Land with her mother, and spending time with Daisy the Camel in Petra, Jordan.  Annette is married to John Rausch '86 and they have three children Abby, Emma (class of 2023), and Ian (class of 2024)