Professor Tian Belawati has made lifetime professional contributions to open and distance learning (ODL). She has had extensive experiences in research, teaching, and administration of a large scale open university system, which serves over 600,000 students residing in Indonesia and overseas. Her work experience includes various positions within an ODL institution that serves diverse groups of students with differing needs and circumstances. She started her career in academic life as researcher with the Canadian Communication Consortium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Upon her return to Universitas Terbuka (UT) in Indonesia in 1996, she was appointed as Head of the Center for Indonesian Studies. As Head of the Center, she was able to significantly increase funding allocation for research, establish accredited academic journal of ODL in Indonesia, and promote research culture within UT.
During her term, UT introduced research-based policy making that has paved the way for achievement and future direction of UT as a reputable quality ODL provider. Her leadership experience at the Centre has further taken her to greater responsibilities as Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at UT. As Vice Rector she introduced innovations and good practices in the use of new technology for the delivery of ODL. Her two-terms as Vice Rector, from 2001 up to 2009, has taken UT into a new ODL platform in a developing country context through utilization of new and appropriate technology. Among others, she has introduced innovations through UT Online, such as online tutorials, open educational resources (OERs), online examination, digital library, integrated information system for learning materials development, and other ICT-based initiatives in teaching, learning and academic administration.
Professor Belawati is currently Rector of UT. In her first two years as Rector, she has taken decisive actions to mobilize effort in partnerships with stakeholders to improve the quality of ODL, develop greater public confidence in ODL, and establish collaborative effort with international as well as regional ODL institutions and associations. She is extensively involved in various joint initiatives with other ODL players and organizations in her capacity as both ODL researcher and top administrator. Her professional achievements have led her appointments as Secretary General (2007-2009) and then President (2009-2010) of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU), as well as a member of the Election Committee (2007-2009) and Executive Committee (2009-now) of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
Professor Belawati holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Adult Education (University of British Columbia, Canada, and a Master of Education in Management of Distance Education (Simon Fraser University, Canada). Her academic reputation in ODL has been recognized through various awards, namely GTP-Bappenas Awards for independent research; World Bank Awards, the Young Academic Program of Indonesian, the Directorate General for Higher Education (YAP-DGHE) for independent research;YAP-DGHE Awards for international publication; IDRC-PanAsia Organization Award for both independent and collaborative research; and Fullbright Award for senior independent research.