Ruth Nielsen

PhD Candidate


I am a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education, Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies. My research focuses on how Ontario high-school principals understand and promote equity in virtual schooling.

As a born and raised Yukoner, from Whitehorse, Yukon, I am very interested in decolonizing research including Northern communities. My MA research (completed in 2020) was an autoethnography of my experience negotiating access for collaborative inquiry into shared educational leadership in the Yukon Territory.

I earned my Bachelor of Arts, Honours from the University of Victoria in 2013. Here, my studies focused on contemporary western Canadian fiction. My final project used a post-colonial theoretical lens to examine the concept of home in Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach and Jack Hodgins’ Broken Ground.

My research interests are virtual schooling, educational leadership, ethical leadership, shared / collaborative leadership, decolonizing research, equity, social justice, epistemology, critical theory, and Foucauldian theory.

Course Work Completed

PHD Courses: 

GRADEDUC9715    – PhD Seminar

GRADEDUC9430A – Leading schools

GRADEDUC9711B – Qualitative research in education

GRADEDUC9705B – Advanced quantitative research methods

GRADEDUC9621A – Intro to quantitative research methods 


MA Courses:

GRADEDUC9200A – Social context of education

GRADEDUC9629A – Equity and social justice

GRADEDUC9201B – Introduction to education research

GRADEDUC9507B – Graduate seminar in school leadership

GRADEDUC9685A – Independent reading/research – Indigenous and decolonizing leadership

GRADEDUC9204B – Indigeneity and (de)colonizing research

GRADEDUC9202L – Critical policy studies in education

PUBLICAD9901L   – Advanced local government

PUBLICAD9902L   – Policy processes in local government



2021 - Dr. Allen Pearson Graduate Award in Educational Leadership

2019 - Dr. Allen Pearson Graduate Award in Educational Leadership


2019 / 2020 – Northern Scientific Training Program

2019 – Terry Demers Memorial Graduate Bursary

Conferences Attended

Nielsen, R. (2021). Leadership for equity in virtual schooling: A call for epistemic equity. [Virtual conference presentation]. University Council for Educational Administration 2020 Convention, Columbus, OH

Nielsen, R. (2021). (Re)Creating and (Re)Structuring: A Foucauldian analysis of school leadership research. [Virtual conference presentation]. Robert MacMillan Symposium in Education, London, ON.

Nielsen, R. (2020). Educational leadership in the Yukon* [Conference presentation]. Canadian Society for the Study of Education Conference, London, ON. *Cancelled due to COVID-19

Nielsen, R. (2020). Educational leadership in Yukon communities*. [Conference presentation]. Robert MacMillan Symposium in Education, London, ON. *Declined due to COVID-19


Nielsen, R. (2021). Book Review: How school principals use their time: Implications for school improvement, administration, and leadership. Leadership and Policy in Schools.

Additional Information

Teaching and Training Experience

  • Western Certificate in University Teaching and Learning – Expected: 2022
  • Western Advanced Teaching Program – November 2021
  • TA eLearning Series – October 2021
  • Future Prof Series – 2021/2022
    • Rubric Design
    • Alternative Assessment
    • Leadership in Wellness
    • Putting Inclusive Pedagogy into Action
    • Is This Working? Gathering and Acting on Classroom Feedback
    • Decentering English in your classroom

Committee Membership

  • Robert MacMillan Symposium Organizing Committee – Tech Team 2021/2022
  • Robert MacMillan Symposium Organizing Committee –
    Outreach Team 2020/2021
  • Robert MacMillan Symposium Organizing Committee –
    Tech Team 2019/2020
  • Education Graduate Student Association – Councilor – Western University (2019 – present) 
  • Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) – Councilor – Western University (2019 – present)
  • SOGS Appeal Review Commission – Committee member – Western University (2020 – present)
  • SOGS Administrative Hiring Committee – Committee member (2021)
  • SOGS Graduate Peer Support Committee – Committee member – Western University (2019 - 2021)