mECPS: Nikki Yee, Ph.D. candidate, SPED

The mECPS digital feature series shares the stories of ECPS students & faculty. ECPS is home to world-class learners and educators, each of whom offers something unique to tell. Through these stories, we can learn more about each other and the resources that exist around us, and create community-building conversations.

Where have you directed your research focus?

One of ECPS’ Special Education Ph.D. candidates, Nikki Yee, has recently completed her data collection for a timely dissertation project, entitled: Navigating Troubled Waters: Collaborative Inquiry to Support Indigenous and All Students in Inclusive Settings. Her research is centered on understanding how to best support Indigenous students in a Western education system where the majority of teachers are non-Indigenous. Her work looks at how we might re-imagine schools and educational systems to better serve Indigenous and all learners. Nikki’s research has focused on building inclusive classrooms by finding common spaces between Western learning methods, such as Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) and Indigenous perspectives. She believes that students and teachers are essential to reconciliation in Canada, and that working together to create responsive classrooms can benefit all peoples..

How did you arrive at this dissertation topic?

Nikki brought an accomplished career in academia to her Ph.D. studies at UBC. She has received a BA Honors Indigenous Studies, B.Ed. and M.Ed. from the University of Saskatchewan. When Nikki began her Ph.D. with ECPS, her supervisor suggested she incorporate her valuable experience in Indigenous Studies to her new area of inquiry, Special Education. She has worked for 13 years in the classroom setting and has witnessed the challenges diverse learners experience in the school environment first-hand.

Big Picture: What do you hope can come from your findings?

While the journey to reconciliation is complex, Nikki is hopeful that her research findings will assist non-Indigenous teachers in creating more supportive learning environments for Indigenous learners. She is working diligently to help see more Indigenous students meet their academic goals. Once completed her Ph.D., Nikki hopes to direct her career further into academia, or within the educational system, to build capacity for reconciliation. Regardless which form her post-doctorate work takes, Nikki is confident she will continue to be involved in supporting positive change for both students and teachers.

Thank you for your diligence and contribution to both UBC and our greater community, Nikki!