International Affairs Staff
Xiu Cravens, Associate Dean for International Affairs, leads the international outreach for Peabody College. Her research interests focus on the analysis of educational reform policies that are particularly related to the organizational and cultural contexts of schools in the United States and other countries in the world. Her academic work has been devoted mainly to two areas: understanding the role of school leaders (principals and superintendents) in a changing policy environment, and addressing the conceptual and methodological challenges of cross-cultural comparison and generalization in international education policy research.
Cravens is a graduate of Peabody's ExPERT program, a nationally funded pre-doctoral training program which gives students the opportunity to engage in rigorous, field-based, experimental research, as well as interdisciplinary discussion and study of important educational problems. Recently, she conducted research studies on charter school effects with the National Center on School Choice, the development and validation of the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education® (the VAL-ED), and the cross-cultural validity and reliability of the VAL-ED in Chinese urban schools.
Nancy D. Dickson is currently the Program Director for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, a Fulbright exchange program for educational leaders from developing countries, and the program manager for the Tennessee/Shanghai Leadership Collaborative here at Peabody. Additionally, she trains and endorses high school teachers throughout the state in the area of service learning for the Tennessee Department of Education.
Prior to working at Vanderbilt, she was the Director of Operations and a founding team member of LEAD Academy, a public charter school in Nashville. While teaching 4th grade in Washington, D.C. public schools, Nancy collaborated with National Geographic, Meridian International, and George Washington University to provide citywide professional development and teacher preparation programming.
As an active member in the community, Nancy serves as the board chair of Nashville International Center of Empowerment (NICE) and All About Women as well as the co-chair for Alignment Nashville’s Parent Engagement Team. She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Vanderbilt and a Bachelor of Art degree in Elementary Education from Penn State University.
Cynthia Feng is currently the Program Coordinator for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. For the past 5 years, Cynthia has been working in various higher education institutions in China and the U.S., including international affairs offices, international student and scholar services, and international collaborative research projects. She obtained both her B.S. in Human and Organizational Development and M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management from Peabody College. With a passion for bridging cultural and talent gaps, she is committed to breaking down cultural stereotypes and bringing diverse people together to collaborate and innovate.