Xiao Ding is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work, and the recipient of the Michael R. Daley Endowed Presidential Scholarship for Doctoral Students. Xiao earned her Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA; equivalent to an MSW) from Case Western Reserve University in 2018, with a concentration in Mental Health, Children, Youth, and Families. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting and Television Journalism from Hubei University, China. Born and raised in an underdeveloped, remote, and ethnic minority-dominant city in the northwest of mainland China, Xiao witnessed the regional disparities among ethnic and socioeconomic groups regarding access to social services and the need for change.

Xiao’s research is grounded in her past research and practice experience. She worked as a research assistant at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at CWRU. During that time, she was involved in multiple program evaluation projects for positive youth development. She has conducted needs assessments, created logic models, mapped outcomes using the ArcGIS platform, and was a co-author of several annual reports. After graduation, Xiao worked as a school-based clinical social worker in Maple Heights City Schools in Greater Cleveland to continue serving children, youth, and their families through school mental health program planning, individual and group counseling, and community services.

As a school social work researcher and practitioner, Xiao was trained to identify and assist high-needs children and adolescents through evidence-based, culturally adapted prevention/early interventions. She is particularly interested in researching the impact of intervening in ecological systems, such as parent-child relationships or school culture and environment, using solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) and analyzing students’ mental health/behavioral health and academic outcomes. During her Ph.D. training, Xiao gained knowledge and expertise in SFBT by continuously practicing as an LMSW and serving as an outside consultation staff member with Dr. Cynthia Franklin at the Gonzalo Garza Independence High School, a model solution-focused alternative school for dropout prevention. In addition, Xiao has been involved with several systematic reviews and meta-analyses on SFBT and is conducting a meta-analysis on interventions at independent alternative high school settings.

Xiao is passionate about using her research and expertise on school social work practice and education to improve the Texas School Social Work Network (TSSWN) and promote the recognition of school social workers and their full capacity, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic/endemic educational context. Xiao has been working with Dr. Beth Gerlach, Dr. Monica Faulkner, and other TSSWN-affiliated colleagues and the Texas Education Agency to bridge the gap between research and practice by initiating workshops and facilitating conversations between the researchers and school social work practitioners.

Research Statement

Teaching Statement

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Interests

School social work; evidence-based practice in school mental health; solution-focused brief therapy; alternative high schools and restorative justice; survey design; systematic review and meta-analysis; program evaluation; social work education.


Texas School Social Work Network