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Meet the Team: Kate Arnold

by Nausheen Hoosein

Hello everyone, my name is Professor Kate Arnold. I am currently Dean of York Graduate Research School (YGRS) and Professor of Ecology in the Department of Environment and Geography. Previously, I have served as the Head of EU exit strategy team (Resources and Waste Directorate, Defra); Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor (University of York); and completed Post-docs at Queensland, Glasgow and York. I received my PhD in Zoology from the University of Queensland, Australia and my Undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK and University of Bonn, Germany.

What do you love about your job?

My favourite part of being Dean of YGRS is hearing about the research that our Postgraduate Researchers are conducting, as well as the personal stories of our students. I especially enjoy attending events like Three Minute Thesis (#York3MT) and PhD Spotlight, which are excellent platforms for PGRs to develop their public engagement skills by sharing their research to a wide audience.

As a researcher, I love doing fieldwork – this month I have blocked out chunks of my diary so that I can travel to study sites all over Northern England to study European kestrels.

Since my children were born, I have worked part-time – so, I am a strong advocate of supporting people with caring responsibilities in achieving a fulfilling and successful career. I do this by modelling a healthy work-life balance myself- I work flexibly, but not excessive hours.

In my ‘spare’ time, I enjoy baking with my children and wild swimming – Pool Bridge Farm near Wheldrake is a favourite swimming spot! As a family, we are also just starting our PADI Open Diver training which is exciting.

Learnings from YCEDE

To quote our Chancellor and YCEDE supporter, Heather Melville – ‘Talent is everywhere, opportunities aren’t’. At YCEDE, we are trying to ensure that everyone who has the talent and ambition to become a researcher has the opportunity to do so. 

When trying to change our institutions, the people that we are aiming to support need to be at the heart of our work. We need to listen to our PGRs, students and staff, in order to co-create YCEDE’s goals and values.


Workloads. Most of our staff want to work in a diverse and equitable university, but their workloads and other commitments often get in the way. So, we need to find a way to ensure that EDI work is included in workloads and that minoritised staff and PGRs, in particular, are recognised for their contributions.

Unintended Benefits/Outputs

One unintended output was for YCEDE to produce a report on how we can recognise and reward the contributions of minoritised staff to EDI and other cultural change work that our institutions increasingly value. 

In addition, I would say a benefit has been the many opportunities that YCEDE has provided to meet and network with people from across the UK and US. It was always built into the project, but the level of collaboration and friendship that has developed is amazing! Finally, it was wonderful to win the ‘Inclusive Partnerships’ award at the Inclusive Impact Awards at University of York in November!