Dr. Paige Tan



Dr. Paige Tan is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Radford University. She teaches courses in Comparative Politics and International Relations, with a primary focus on political parties, democratization, and dictatorships. Dr. Tan has contributed articles to Current History, Indonesia, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Asian Journal of Political Science, Inside Indonesia, Education about Asia, Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, and Asian Perspective.

Dr. Tan directs the exciting and unique Wicked Problems program at RU, where students become authorities in the most challenging and persistent public problems facing the world today.

Her Ph.D. is in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. Her Master’s Degree is in International Public Administration with an emphasis in Chinese from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (now the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey).

Dr. Tan's CV  [PDF]


Dr. Tan teaches both Comparative Government and International Relations. 

Radford Courses:

  • POSC 130 Changing the World 
  • POSC 231 Comparative Politics
  • POSC 343 Asian Politics
  • POSC 344 Middle East Politics
  • POSC 345 Developing Country Politics 
  • POSC 350 US Foreign Policy
  • POSC 351 Model United Nations
  • POSC 352 International Development
  • POSC 354 Ethics in International Affairs
  • POSC 355 Terrorism
  • POSC 390 Chinese Politics
  • POSC 392 Political Science Careers
  • POSC 490: Capstone: Dictators and Dictatorships


Much of Dr. Tan's academic research focuses on political parties and their role in democracies/dictatorships in Asia.  She has written many articles on Indonesia’s democratization since the fall of the Dictator Suharto in 1998.  In 2024, she submitted an article to a book celebrating the life and work of Indonesian activist Julia Suryakusuma.  In the area of teaching and learning, she has published on teaching data literacy using the Lowy Asia Power Index (Education about Asia, Winter 2019).  In international recognition of her work, Dr.  Tan served as an Indonesia country expert in the Varieties of Democracy global research project (2021-2023).

Dr. Tan’s research informs her teaching.  When teaching about democratic transitions or political parties, she can bring to the class real stories from the ground during Indonesia’s transition to democracy such as observing Indonesia's 2004 presidential elections.  She can share her interviews with Indonesian party leaders with students, so they can see how people like them around the world face the important political challenges before them.  Further, the process of engaging in research improves our ability to structure an inquiry and solve problems; these abilities can then be shared with students who can then take the m to the world of work.

See her CV for a full list of publications.


Dr. Tan believes in service to the students, faculty, university, community, profession, and the world.

At Radford, she supports the growth of Model United Nations.  In Model UN, students simulate international diplomacy, representing country delegates and interacting with others to find solutions to world problems.  Model UN increases students’ knowledge of world affairs. It also enhances students’ abilities in networking, leadership, negotiation, and public speaking.  Model UN also enhances students’ confidence and abilities to think on their feet.

Dr. Tan also seeks to increase the number of our students participating in study abroad.  She serves as department study abroad advisor. Further, she regularly advises undegraduate independent study projecs and internships in the department. 

On campus, Dr. Tan has served as chair of the University’s Core Curriculum Advisory Committee (2017-2019). In 2021, she and faculty colleagues created a new exposition for student research called the Wicked Festival, in which students present their ideas for solutions to persistent public problems.

In the community, she contributes op-eds to the Roanoke Times and has lectured on Chinese foreign policy and Terrorism to VT's Lifelong Learning Institute (2020/2019) and to Blacksburg’s Great Decisions program (Spring 2021, 2018, and 2017). She also served as the vice president of the board of her neighborhood association (member 2019-2021).

In her profession, Dr. Tan served as a board member of the Southern Regional Model United Nations (2017-2021). SRMUN puts on two Model UN conferences each year, one in Atlanta (November) and one in Charlotte (March/April).  As an outgrowth of the pandemic, SRMUN now also offers an annual virtual conference. Dr. Tan also served as an application reviewer for the Boren Scholarships, a US government fellowship for students to study languages critical to US national security (2021, 2020, 2019).

Previously, Dr. Tan has advised the Drug Enforcement Administration and the State Department (Washington, DC); the World Bank (Jakarta, Indonesia); as well as the US military (Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune, NC).