WUN Governance

WUN is a not-for-profit organisation with prudent governance measures in place to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of its high quality programmes and activities. 

Chair - Professor Dawn Freshwater

Dawn Freshwater is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, and has been a globally recognised as a leader in world-class universities for more than a decade, whilst remaining committed to her academic discipline. 

She became the University's first female Vice-Chancellor in March 2020, after serving as the University of Western Australia's Vice-Chancellor and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Registrar for six years (2014-2020). In her role as Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia (UWA), she led the development of UWA's ambitious 2030 Vision and 2025 Strategic Plan, and a significant transformation agenda. She was instrumental in leading the development of the UWA Public Policy Institute, creating a bridge between academic research and government, public and business needs, and delivering real-world policy impact and solutions to local and global challenges for the Indian Ocean Rim and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Professor Freshwater was the first female Chair of the G08 Research Intensive Universities in Australia, and Deputy Chair (2018-2020) having previously been a Director.  She is currently a Board Director of the Perth USAsia Centre, Chair of the Partnership Board of the World University Network (WUN), member of the National Health and Research Medical Council's Women in Health Science Committee (NHMRC) and a board Director of Research Australia. She is also a member of Chief Executive Women (CEW) Engagement Committee.

Professor Freshwater was awarded her PhD at the University of Nottingham (1998) 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 (FRCN).

As an academic, Professor Freshwater has contributed to almost 200 publications, including peer-reviewed papers, research reports, books, editorials and media contributions, and she continues to supervise PhD students. 

As an active researcher and scholar, Professor Freshwater also served on the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Research, Research Excellence Framework (REF) panel. She has also acted as an advisor to the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).  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. Professor Freshwater is a strong advocate for values-led and inclusive leadership, about which she has written and researched extensively.

A strong advocate of industry engagement and of the role of higher education in supporting trade agreements, Professor Freshwater maintains strong professional ties with key figures in education and industry in Asia, Europe and the United States, and was until recently member of the Federal Minister’s Higher Education Industry advisory group. Freshwater currently Chair’s the University of Auckland’s UniServices, research and innovation ecosystem. 

Executive Director - Professor Peter Lennie

Peter Lennie is the Jay Last Distinguished University Professor at University of Rochester.  He has been Executive Director of WUN since August 2018.

Lennie is a neuroscientist whose work has focused principally on early stage mechanisms of vision,  and the encoding and transmission of information from the eye’s retina to the primary visual cortex.  His published work has contributed particularly to our understanding of how information about the color of objects is represented in the brain.

He was born and educated in the UK.  After obtaining his PhD in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge, he held a Harkness Fellowship at Northwestern University in Evanston, followed by a Research Fellowship at King’s College, Cambridge, before becoming Lecturer in  Experimental Psychology at the University of Sussex.  In 1982 he moved to University of Rochester to join the Center for Visual Science. During his time in Rochester he became founding chair of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.  From 1998 to 2006 he was at New York University as Professor of Neural Science and Dean for Science.  In 2006 he returned to University of Rochester as Senior Vice President and Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.  From 2012 to 2016 he also served as the university’s Provost. During his time as Provost he drove a major expansion of the university’s international engagement.

His professional service includes appointments on editorial boards of several scientific journals, service on boards of professional societies, and on National Institutes of Health review panels, including from 1985-1988 as chairman of Visual Sciences B Study Section.  He served as chairman of the National Research Council’s Committee on Vision from 1991-95, and on its Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences from 1997 to 2004.  He was chairman of the National Research Council Committee on Disability Determination for Individuals with Visual Impairment.  From 1992 to 2002 he held a MERIT award from the National Eye Institute.  He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America.


WUN is led and managed by the Executive Director and a consultant team, which is responsible for the operations, communications and strategy implementation of the network and reports to the Partnership Board.  Company secretarial and financial management services are provided by specialists from the University of Leeds, which is the registered office of the WUN Company.

  • Executive Director:  Professor Peter Lennie
  • Head of Secretariat:  Dr Mike Hasenmueller
  • Administrative Manager (Interim): Ms Marije Nieuwenhuis
  • Program Manager: Dr Aoiffe Ficklin
  • Company Secretary: Ms Helena Smith
  • Financial Services:  Ms Janette Randerson 

Partnership Board

The Partnership Board sets the strategic direction and vision of the network and its culture, values and membership. It provides entrepreneurial leadership of the WUN company within a framework of prudent and effective controls that enables risk to be assessed and managed.

The Board comprises the Presidents, Vice-Chancellors or Rectors of the member universities and the WUN Executive Director. Collectively, the Board has considerable international influence and ensures that WUN is recognised as a leading global higher education network.

Chair: Professor Dawn Freshwater, Vice-Chancellor, The University of Auckland

Vice-Chair: Professor dr Martin Paul, President, Maastricht University

Steering Group

  • Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town
  • Professor Rocky Tuan, Vice-Chancellor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Professor Andrew Deeks, President, University College Dublin
  • Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana
  • Dr John McCarthy, Provost & Senior Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Alt. Dir. for Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy)
  • Professor Sandra Almeida, Rector, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Professor Peter Lennie, WUN Executive Director


  • Professor Bill Flanagan, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Alberta
  • Professor Margareth Hagen, Rector, University of Bergen
  • Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bristol
  • Professor Nouria Hernandez, Rector, University of Lausanne
  • Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds
  • Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice-Chancellor, Makerere University
  • Dr David Garza, Rector, Tecnológico de Monterrey
  • Professor Huey-Jen Jenny Su, President, National Cheng Kung University
  • Professor Liu Wei, President, Renmin University of China 
  • Professor Sarah Mangelsdorf, President, University of Rochester
  • Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor, The University of Sheffield
  • Professor Mark E. Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton
  • Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of York
  • Professor Wu Zhaohui, President, Zhejiang University

Academic Advisory Group

The Academic Advisory Group is responsible for overseeing the academic portfolio of the network and advising the Partnership Board on strategic direction. It is made up senior university officials, usually at the level of Vice-President or Deputy Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for the research or internationalisation priorities of the member universities. It is the task of this group to draw the threads from individual member universities together so as to nurture high impact communities tackling issues of global importance.


Dr Erik Lithander, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement), University of Bristol


  • Dr Walter Dixon, Interim Vice-President (Research and Innovation), University of Alberta
  • Professor Jim Metson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), The University of Auckland
  • Professor Annelin Eriksen, Vice-Rector for Global Relations, University of Bergen
  • Professor Sue Harrison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation, University of Cape Town
  • Professor Mai-Har Sham, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Dr Douglas Proctor, Director - Global Engagement, University College Dublin
  • Professor Felix Ankomah Asante, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana
  • Professor François Bussy, Vice-Rector, Research and International Relations, University of Lausanne
  • Professor Nick Plant, Dean for Research Quality and Impact, University of Leeds
  • Professor Peter Møllgaard, Dean of School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University
  • Dr Umar Kakumba, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Makerere University
  • Professor Martina Nieswandt Associate Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement),  University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Professor Aziz Saliba, Dean of International Affairs, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Professor Arturo Molina, Vice President of Research and Technology Transfer, Tecnológico de Monterrey 
  • Dr Fong-Chin Su, Vice President, National Cheng Kung University
  • Professor Wang Liming, Vice President, Renmin University of China 
  • Dr Jane Gatewood, Associate Provost for Global Engagement, University of Rochester
  • Professor Dave Petley,  Vice-President for Innovation, The University of Sheffield
  • Professor Peter G.R. Smith, Associate Vice-President International Projects, University of Southampton
  • Professor Matthias Ruth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Partnership, Engagement and Research), University of York
  • Professor Lianzhen He, Vice President for International Relations, Zhejiang University

Coordinators Group

Each WUN member university appoints an administrator to manage the implementation of WUN programs on campus and to serve as the main contact point for network initiatives. This group shares information on collaborative opportunities and develops WUN’s research programs. Your local WUN Coordinator should be your first point of contact for information on WUN. Contact details for your WUN Coordinator can be found below and on the WUN member pages

Chair: Dr Susan JimUniversity of Bristol 


Contact Us

For more information on WUN, enquiries can be directed to info@wun.ac.uk

WUN Company Office: Room 11.75, EC Stoner Building, The University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK