Olstad selected as dean of students

May 6, 2019 By John Lucas

Christina Olstad has been named dean of students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Olstad currently serves as interim assistant vice president for student affairs, housing and residence life at Towson University in Towson, Maryland, outside of Baltimore. She’ll begin her new role on July 1.

Photo: Portrait of Christina Olstad

Christina Olstad Photo: Kanji Takeno, Towson University

Olstad comes to Madison with nearly two decades of experience in higher education administration, housing and residence life, crisis response and staff development.

“I’m passionate about the Wisconsin Experience and ensuring that all students have the tools and resources they need to succeed,” she says. “After growing up and attending college in Minnesota, I’m thrilled to get to become a Badger.”

Olstad received undergraduate and master’s degrees in social work at Augsburg University in Minneapolis and an Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Vermont.

“I’m excited to have Christina join UW–Madison as the Dean of Students. I know she will be a strong collaborator on campus and advocate for all students,” says Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor. “Her passion for students, equity and inclusion, and the Wisconsin Experience will be great assets to the university.”

In her new role, Olstad will oversee the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, the Center for the First-Year Experience, and Associated Students of Madison staff and programs.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming students to campus in the fall and cheering on the Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium,” Olstad adds, noting that her wife Kirsten and son Robert will be moving with her to Madison.

Reporting to the vice chancellor for student affairs, the dean has responsibilities for planning, implementing and assessing initiatives related to student success.

In addition, the dean is responsible for ensuring that campus units respond to all students’ needs effectively and compassionately, advocating for their interests as well as overseeing their transition.

The search for a permanent dean of students launched in December 2018 and was co-chaired by Lauren Papp, professor and associate dean in the School of Human Ecology, and Billy Welsh, chair of Associated Students of Madison.