Walstad, Annette

Annette Walstad Portrait

Director of Academic Support Services

New Student Services - Director of Student Academic Services & Advising

Annette Walstad has 30 years of experience in higher education. She holds a BA from Carroll College and an M.Ed. from MSU-Bozeman.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.

She returned to Carroll in July 2010, most recently serving the college as Director of the Saints Success Center, overseeing Advising, Career Services, Veteran Services and the ARC. Annette stepped into this interim role for several months in the 2016-2017 academic year. Annette is married to John Rausch '86 and they have three children Abby, Emma (class of 2022), and Issy.

I love many things but on the top of the list are my family, crazy dog, college students, winter, and Carroll College. My favorite part about Carroll is the relationships I build with students and aiding them in achieving their academic goals. I provide academic support for students wishing to enhance their classroom learning experience and improve their chances of achieving academic success at the level they desire. Through direct communication and referrals, I help students build stronger working relationships with faculty, as well as with staff in other student-service and administrative offices. Additionally, I help students clarify and achieve their academic goals through discussion of the major areas of study, appropriate career choices based on student interests and strengths, and referrals to suitable personal and academic support services. In addition, I teach several sections of LAS 105-College Success which I designed to assist first-year students with their transition from high school to college.

Annette was a recipient of the Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award. 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.

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.

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, 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 at Carroll College. The work Shannon, Brandy, Wes and Jake do every day for students inspires me to be better.