Dawn Freshwater

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Dawn Freshwater

Born1962 (age 57–58)
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham (PhD)
Scientific career
FieldsMental health
Nurse education
InstitutionsUniversity of Leeds
University of Auckland
University of Western Australia
ThesisTransformatory Learning in Nurse Education (1998)

Dawn Freshwater (born 1962) FRCN is a British mental health researcher and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Australia. From March 2020, she will be the Vice Chancellor of the University of Auckland.

Early life and education[edit]

Freshwater was born in a mining family in Nottingham, with two younger brothers. She left school at the age of 15 because her parents became unwell. Freshwater trained as a nurse and was the first member of her family to attend university.[1] Her doctoral research investigated the impact of transformative learning on nursing students for which she awarded a PhD by the University of Nottingham in 1998.[2][3]

Research and career[edit]

In 2006 Freshwater joined the University of Leeds.[4] Her research concentrated on forensic psychology, and studied the impact of marginalised groups with severe mental health issues.[5]

Freshwater was appointed the Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC) at the University of Leeds in 2011.[4] She led the School of Medicine application for an Athena SWAN award and served a member of the assessment panel for the Research Excellence Framework (REF).[3] During this time, she served on the Council of Deans for Nursing and Midwifery and was a trustee of the Florence Nightingale Foundation.[6]

In 2014 Freshwater moved to Australia.[1] Freshwater joined the University of Western Australia as Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor in 2016.[7] In 2017 she was made the Vice Chancellor, and led the first Inclusion and Division strategy.[8] She was the first woman to be made Chair of the Group of Eight in 2018.[1] She also led the Matariki network of universities. At the University of Western Australia Freshwater established the Public Policy Institute, which translates research into real-world solutions for the Indo-Pacific region.[9]

In 2019 Freshwater became the first woman to be appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Auckland. She will take up this position in March 2020.[9] The University of Auckland recently regained its position on the Times Higher Education World's Top 200 Universities.[9]


She has authored and co-authored numerous publications[10] including:

  • Critical reflection for nursing and the helping professions : a user's guide[11]
  • Therapeutic Nursing[12]
  • Emotions And Needs (Core Concepts in Therapy)[13]
  • Blackwell's Nursing Dictionary[14]
  • Counselling Skills For Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitor[15]
  • International Textbook of Reflective Practice in Nursing[16]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 2001 Freshwater was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing (FRCN).[3]

Personal life[edit]

Freshwater is a marathon runner and has completed the London Marathon seven times.[9][17]


  1. ^ a b c "Australia's key university body appoints first female Chair: Dawn Freshwater". womensagenda.com.au. Women's Agenda. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  2. ^ Freshwater, Dawn (1998). Transformatory learning in nurse education. nottingham.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University of Nottingham. OCLC 556607870. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.299560. Free to read
  3. ^ a b c "UWA announces new Vice-Chancellor". news.uwa.edu.au. University Of Western Australia. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b Garner, Louise. "Pro-Vice Chancellor Dawn Freshwater". leeds.ac.uk. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Prof Dawn Freshwater". Forrest Research Foundation. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  6. ^ Anyangwe, Eliza (21 March 2012). "Live chat: what sort of leaders does higher education need?". theguardian.com. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Dawn Freshwater — the UWA Profiles and Research Repository". research-repository.uwa.edu.au. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  8. ^ Debska, Anna (17 January 2017). "UWA announces new Vice-Chancellor". matarikinetwork.org. Matariki Network. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d Collins, Simon (5 June 2019). "British mental health researcher Dawn Freshwater appointed as University of Auckland's first female vice-chancellor". nzherald.co.nz. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  10. ^ Dawn Freshwater publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  11. ^ Rolfe, Gary. (2001). Critical reflection for nursing and the helping professions : a user's guide. Freshwater, Dawn., Jasper, Melanie. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave. ISBN 0333777956. OCLC 46984997.
  12. ^ Freshwater, Dawn (2002). Therapeutic Nursing. SAGE Publishing. ISBN 0761970649.
  13. ^ Freshwater, Dawn (2002). Emotions And Needs (Core Concepts in Therapy). Open University Press. ISBN 0335208010.
  14. ^ Freshwater, Dawn (2004). Blackwell's Nursing Dictionary. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 1405105348.
  15. ^ Freshwater, Dawn (2005). Counselling Skills For Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors. Open University Press. ISBN 0335207812.
  16. ^ Freshwater, Dawn (2008). International Textbook of Reflective Practice in Nursing. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1405160513.
  17. ^ "Interview with Dawn Freshwater". timeshighereducation.com. Times Higher Education. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2019.