Dr. Paige Tan

Chair, Professor


Dr. Paige Tan is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Radford University. She teaches courses in Comparative Politics and International Relations, with a primary focus on Asia. She is currently editing a book on Asian political thought for Routledge press. She also researches political parties and their role in democratization, with a particular emphasis on Indonesia. Dr. Tan has contributed articles on Asian topics to Current History, Indonesia, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Asian Journal of Political Science, Inside Indonesia, Education about Asia, and Asian Perspective. 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


In the Political Science program at Radford University, students will build on competencies developed in the core curriculum to enhance their abilities in critical thinking, information literacy, oral and written communication, ethical citizenship, problem solving, understanding of diversity/global issues, and collaboration; these skills are in addition to the foundational knowledge in political science and public affairs that students will acquire.

Dr. Tan is working to support high-impact educational experiences for students; these include Model United Nations (see service, below), study abroad, and community engagement. Dr. Tan is working to increase the department’s ability to offer internships to students and to enable students to be career ready when they leave Radford with a Political Science major. As part of the latter effort, Dr. Tan is creating new classes on careers and professionalism in the public and non-profit sector that will be optional for students in the major. She is also supporting the creation of a Maymester Washington, DC trip during which students can tour the capital city and explore work sites in non-profits, federal agencies, Capitol Hill, lobbying, and/or international organizations in addition to learning about US politics through visits to Congress and the White House. Finally, Dr. Tan is overseeing a rebuilding of the department with retirements and new faculty hires.


Dr. Tan teaches both Comparative Government and International Relations. She has also previously taught courses in Political Thought and Public Administration.

Teaching Philosophy

Radford Courses Now and in the Works:

Radford Courses:
POSC 202: Ethics in International Affairs
POSC 231: Comparative Government (simulations)
POSC 292: Political Science Careers
POSC 293: Professionalism in the Public and Non-Profit Sector
POSC 344: Middle East Politics
POSC 353: Current Issues in World Affairs
POSC 351: Model United Nations
POSC 390: Chinese Politics
POSC 390: Terrorism
POSC 459: Global Terrorism


Dr. Tan is currently working on editing a book for Routledge on Asian Political Thought. She has contributors covering topics from India to Japan and from 500BC to today.  Much of her academic research focuses on political parties and their role in democratization of countries in Asia.  She has written many articles on Indonesia’s democratization since the fall of the Dictator Suharto in 1998.  She finds the relative weakness of political parties important in democracy’s fragility in that country (For an example of a recent book chapter, click here). In 2014, Dr. Tan submitted an invited piece to Education about Asia about the leadership challenges facing Burma’s/Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi.

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. 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; this ability can be shared with students who can then take the ability to structure an inquiry out into the world of work.

See her CV for a full list of publications.


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

At Radford, she is supporting 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 seeks to increase the number of our students participating in study abroad.  She serves as department study abroad advisor. 

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).