Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia and Chair of the Group of Eight.

Professor Dawn Freshwater

BA Manc., PhD Nott., FRCN, RN, RNT

Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia and Chair of the Group of Eight.

Professor Dawn Freshwater has been Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia (UWA) since January 2017. Under her direction, the UWA 2030vision and the accompanying Strategic Plan 2020-2025 have been prepared. Both are the result of widespread consultation and collaboration.

Professor Freshwater leads their implementation, driving an agenda which encourages the embrace of grand challenges and of the development of keenly strategic approaches to the possibilities for UWA’s development as a pivotal knowledge hub for the Indian Ocean Rim region.

As Chair and Director of Australia’s Group of Eight leading research-intensive universities, Professor Freshwater is also a builder of international connections. She serves as Chair of the Matariki Network of Universities and Vice-Chair of the Partnership Board of the Worldwide Universities Network.

At the local and national level, Professor Freshwater is Vice-Chair of the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, a Board Director of Lifeline WA and thePerth USAsia Centre, and a Governor of the Forrest Research Foundation.

Professor Freshwater was also instrumental in leading the development of the UWA Public Policy Institute (UWAPPI), established in May 2018. UWAPPI creates a bridge between academic research and government, public and business needs. It delivers real-world policy impact and solutions to local and global challenges for the Indian nations and researchers of the Ocean Rim and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Her contributions to public health (specifically mental health and forensic mental health) and in researching leadership practices won her the highest honour in her field of scholarship – Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing. As an active researcher and scholar, Professor Freshwater also serves as a member of the Australia’s National Health and Research Medical Council’s Women in Health Science Committee; having previously served on the Higher Education Funding Council for England Research Research Excellence Framework panel. She has also acted as an advisor to the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health Research and National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

Professor Freshwater’s research focuses on two key themes: psychological therapies research and offender health research. She links this to medical humanities, with a focus on utilising narrative methodologies – in particular, in the arts, music and textual analysis. As an academic, she has contributed to almost 200 publications, and continues to provide supervision to PhD students. Professor Freshwater is a strong advocate for values-led and inclusive leadership, about which she has written and researched extensively.


Professor Dawn Freshwater tweets as @ResAustralia