Professor Tian Belawati is a highly regarded academician, researcher, and practitioner in the field of open and distance learning (ODL). She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Adult Education (University of British Columbia, Canada), a Master of Education in Management of Distance Education (Simon Fraser University, Canada.), and a Bachelor degree in Agriculture (Institut Pertanian Bogor, Indonesia). She started her academic career in 1985 as an editor for the learning materials published by Universitas Terbuka (UT), Indonesia. UT is one of the mega universities in the world providing quality higher education through open and distance education for Indonesians residing across the archipelago and those living overseas. As one of the promising young staff at UT, she was offered to further her study. After completion of both her Masters and Doctoral degree programs, she returned to UT and was given the responsibility to lead the Center for Indonesian Studies in 1996. She was then entrusted with a larger responsibility as the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs from 2001 to 2009. During her two terms as Vice Rector, UT was introduced to many innovations and good practices in the use of new technology for the delivery of ODL through the utilization of new and appropriate technology, 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 was then appointed as the Rector of UT between 2009-2017 (two terms). 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 also led her appointments within the ODL community, first as Secretary General (2007-2009) and then President (2009-2010) of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU). Her leadership was further acknowledged at the global level through her appointments as a member of the Election Committee, the Executive Committee, and as the President of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) from 2012 until 2015. After the ICDE Presidency, Prof. Belawati was asked to join the ICDE Board of Trustees starting in 2017.
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. The latest awards she received were for her life time contributions in the field of education, the AAOU Meritorious Service Award in 2012 and the Distinguished Individual Promoter of the ODL from the African Council for Distance Education (ACDE) in June 2014.