Dawn Freshwater

Professor, PhD Nott., BA (Hons) Man., FRCN, RN, RNT, DipPsych, GAICD

  • The University of Western Australia (M571), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 1126 Citations
  • 16 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Professor Dawn Freshwater became Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia (UWA) in January 2017 and is currently leading the implementation of UWA’s 2030 Vision and Strategic Plan. She has been a leader in world class universities for over a decade and remains committed to her academic discipline.

Professor Freshwater contributes to many national and international boards including as Chair and Director of Group of Eight (Go8), Vice-Chair, Partnership Board of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), Board Director, Perth USAsia Centre, member NHMRC Women in Health Science (WiHS) Committee, member of Chief Executive Women Engagement Committee (CEW), Board Member of the UWA Public Policy Institute, and Board Director of Lifeline WA. She will also assume the role of Chair of the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU) in July.

Professor Freshwater was awarded her PhD at the University of Nottingham and is a highly experienced and driven supporter of translational research and research-led teaching. Her contribution to the fields of Public Health (specifically Mental Health and Forensic Mental Health) and in researching Leadership practices won her the highest honour in her field - the Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing.

As an academic, Professor Freshwater has a background in mental health and has contributed to almost 200 publications, including books/chapters, peer-reviewed papers, research reports, editorials as well as media contributions, and continues to provide supervision to two PhD students. Professor Freshwater is a strong advocate for values led and inclusive leadership, about which she has also written and researched extensively.


Professor Freshwater’s research has focused on two key themes; these being psychological therapies research and offender health research. She has also developed a multi-disciplinary clinical academic research centre in practice.

Education/Academic qualification

Education, BA (Honours), University of Nottingham

PhD, University of Nottingham

External positions

Expert Panel Member, Performance Based Funding CGS, Dept. of Education and Training, Canberra

2019 → …

Chair, Group of Eight Ltd


Vice-Chair, Group of Eight Ltd


Board Director, Lifeline WA

2018 → …

Women in Health Science Committee Member (WiHS) , National Health and Medical Research Council


Board Director, Perth Festival

2018 → …

Vice-Chair, Worldwide Universities Network


Governor, Forrest Research Foundation

2017 → …

Board Director, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research


Vice-Chair, Matariki Network of Universities


Director, Perth USAsia Centre

2017 → …

Board Director, Young Lives Matter Foundation (YLM)

2017 → …

Vice-President, Australian Higher Education Industrial Association


Panel Chair, Institutional Research Review (IRRP) Ireland


Inspector, Office for Corrective Services, Perth WA

2015 → …

Executive Board Member, WA Health Translation Network WAHTN - MRFF


Chair, WUN Global Challenge Steering Group for Public Health and Understanding Cultures


Professor of Mental Health, University of Leeds

2007 → …

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Research Output

Commentary: The experiences of inpatient nursing staff caring for young people with early psychosis

Freshwater, D., 1 Mar 2019, In : Journal of Research in Nursing. 24, 1-2, p. 86-87 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Commentary: An overview of the qualitative descriptive design within nursing research

Freshwater, D., 18 Dec 2019, In : Journal of Research in Nursing. 2 p., 1744987119881060.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Emotional Intelligence for Health Care Professions – Professional Compathy

Stickley, T. & Freshwater, D., 2018, An Introduction to Emotional Intelligence. Pool, L. D. & Qualter, P. (eds.). United States: Wiley-Blackwell, p. 149-160 (BPS Textbooks in Psychology).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

Indices of change: Analysing the indexical properties of data from psychotherapy case work to discern patterns of therapeutic change over time

Hills, J., Cahill, J., Lees, J. & Freshwater, D., 1 Jan 2018, Computer Supported Qualitative Research - 2nd International Symposium on Qualitative Research, ISQR 2017. Reis, L. P., Costa, A. P., de Souza, F. N. & Moreira, A. (eds.). Springer-Verlag Wien, p. 418-424 7 p. (Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing; vol. 621).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper

Open Access