Edwina Jannie Cruise teaches a broad range of courses in Russian language and culture. She is known on campus as a dynamic and passionate teacher. Her research in recent years has alternated between (and sometimes combined) her two great loves: Tolstoy and horses. In September 1998 she was invited to speak on the symbolic use of horses in Anna Karenina at the First International Tolstoy Conference, held at Tolstoy's ancestral home near Tula, Russia. She has contributed seven biographies of native Russian horse breeds to the Web site of the International Museum of the Horse (Kentucky Horse Park), "Horse Breeds of the World." Her most recent publication on Tolstoy, "Women, Sexuality, and the Family in Tolstoy," appeared in The Cambridge Companion to Tolstoy (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
Before coming to Mount Holyoke, Cruise was a Fulbright lecturer in Russian and English at Hankuk University, Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation, in Seoul, Korea (1981–1982), and Assistant Professor of Russian at Williams College (1973–1980). She has also taught at Columbia University, William Paterson University, and Middlebury College.
In 1965 Cruise was among the first group of American undergraduates allowed to study in the Soviet Union. Since then, she has frequently studied and traveled in the former Soviet Union; during her spring 2002 sabbatical she spent time working at the Museum of the Horse (Moscow) and the Institute of the Horse (Ryazan), as well as consulting with leading Tolstoy specialists in Moscow.