Xiu Cravens' 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 to understanding the role of instructional leadership and teacher development in a changing policy environment, and addressing the conceptual and methodological challenges of cross-cultural translation and adaptation of effective practices. Recently, she participated in research studies on developing teacher capacity through shared instructional leadership in Shanghai and Tennessee, 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. She has authored or co-authored research articles that appear in academic journals such as the Comparative Education Review, Educational Administration Quarterly, Journal of Educational Administration, Elementary School Journal, Leadership and Policy in Schools, and American Journal of Education.
Xiu Cravens teaches courses in international education policy analysis and research methods as a faculty at the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations. She holds an administrative appointment as Peabody College's associate dean for international affairs, directs Vanderbilt’s U.S.-China Center for Education and Culture, and the International Education Policy and Management M.Ed. program.