​Mairéad Browne

Consultant in Higher Education and Quality Assurance
Location:
Sydney
Disciplines:
Business and Law,
Education,
Humanities and Social Sciences
Education

Mairéad Browne’s philosophy is to focus on opportunities for improvement and provide measures for success. She is originally from Ireland, and began her career as a Celtic Archeologist. She moved to Australia in 1974 and started working as an academic in Sydney in what ultimately became the University of Technology Sydney. Currently she works as a consultant in higher education and quality assurance.

Mairéad didn’t plan her career, but rather has taken opportunities as they arose. She became Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at UTS at a time the faculty was substantially in deficit - a role she took after being tapped on the shoulder.

She worked in that role for several years, modelling transparency and fairness, especially when it came to making drastic decisions . She was surprised by the confidence that others had in her, especially when she came to her second term as Dean, which demonstrated that people valued her honest approach.

Mairéad pioneered the shift to greater financial responsibility based on collegiality in resource allocation within the faculty and worked hard to ensure that academics were freed of unnecessary administrative tasks so they could focus on their scholarly work.

Following her time as Dean of the Faculty, she moved on to be Dean of the Graduate School, at a time when graduate schools were just beginning in Australian universities. In this role, she was responsible for Masters and higher degrees by research, supporting students as well as quality assurance. 

At the age of 39 and in the throes of her career, Mairéad had a daughter. She found juggling her PhD, work, and home challenging, despite strong local family support from her husband and mother.

Approaching 60 and beginning to experience some health issues, Mairéad decided to retire. In her retirement, she travelled and took some time to herself. However, the quality assurance scene was growing in Australia so Mairéad applied to be an Auditor and was approved. Her auditing work led to the growth of her networks and jobs from other agencies internationally and she maintains this consulting work. She enjoys working on projects with tangible goals and the collegiality of working with others.

Her guiding philosophy is to focus on the opportunities for improvement and provide plans and measures for success, rather than tick boxes or simply judge for 'yes/no' compliance. This is the part that she enjoys most and where she provides greatest value. 

Mairéad has mentored others informally in Australia and overseas. Many have commented that they've learned a great deal from her. As a mentor, Mairéad can offer perspectives from faculty management and middle management, and in particular, the challenges within budgeting and transparency, and wearing the consequences of decisions. Her approach to mentoring is to listen, develop a relationship and set goals.