- Distance Education
R. Thandavan was born on October 1, 1950 at Panappampattu village at the foot of Javadhu Hills, PolurTaluk, Thiruvannamalai District, Tamil Nadu. After completing his school studies, he joined Pachaiyappa's College, Chennai in Pre-University course in 1969. Having graduated in History, he earned M.A. degree in History in the same college in 1976. He started his career as Lecturer in History at Sir Theagaraya College (Evening), Chennai. He switched over to Pachaiyappa's College as Lecturer in History in March 1978. In the course of his 8 years of service there, he pursued and successfully completed his M.Phil. degree as a part-time teacher candidate in 1980 in the Department of Indian History, University of Madras and Ph.D. degree in 1983 in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Madras under Faculty Improvement Programme (FIP) sponsored by U.G.C. Subsequently he earned M.A. degree in Political Science. He is the recipient of the award of the Fellowship of Tamil Nadu Academy of Political Science.
In April 1986, he moved to the University of Madras and joined as Reader in the newly endowed Centre for Anna Studies. Further, he became the Head of the Centre whose nomenclature was changed as Anna Centre for Public Affairs in order to widen the horizon of the discipline to accommodate the changing trends in the curriculum of Public Affairs in the International scenario. In January 1990, he was elevated as Professor and Head of the Centre. Apart from M.Phil and Ph.D. programmes instituted in 1986, he introduced M.A. programmes in Public Affairs in 1988. Under his stewardship, the Centre revised the syllabus of the M.A. Programme to cater to the needs of the youth who wish to prepare for competitive examinations including Civil Services, Banking etc. He started PG Diploma in Public Management (Tamil Medium) in 2004. He also introduced M.A. Public Administration (Tamil Medium) fully funded by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Also he introduced M.A. Post Modern Development Administration (Integrated course with duration of 5 years)
He had been in teaching profession for nearly three decades. As a Research supervisor, he had successfully guided 278 M.Phil. Scholars and 77 Ph.D. scholars covering the areas of Public policy, Housing Policy, Agriculture, Energy, Water Management, Rural Development, Development Administration, Women and Child Welfare, Labour Movement, Mass Media, Panchayat Raj, Parliament Affairs, Leadership Dynamics, Political Parties, Electoral Behaviour, Centre-State and Inter-State Relations, etc.,
Organization of Seminars/Conferences/Workshops
He had participated so far nearly 120 Seminars, Conferences, Workshops of National and International level. To his credit, he had organized so far 75 National and International level seminars, conferences and workshops. He organized International Round Table conference on Democracy and Social Tensions in Third World Countries in January 1992, jointly with the International Political Science Association. This was the first joint venture of National Political Science Association with International Political Science Association to have such a Round Table in Asia. It is noteworthy that 40 foreign scholars from different parts of the world including Europe, USA, South America, Australia, Africa etc., besides 60 scholars from various parts of India participated in this Round Table. He also organized the All India Seminar on Centre-State Relations in India financed by the Government of Tamil Nadu held at Chennai in January 1984. Professor R. Thandavan was the Chairman of the Publicity Committee of the Post-Centenary Silver Jubilee Celebration of the University of Madras during September 1983. Also he was the convener of the 150th Celebration Committee of University of Madras which visited the University of Kolkata and Mumbai.
Books and Journals
He has authored 25 books and published 55 papers besides his participation and presentation of papers in 100 conferences including the International Political Science Association's Conferences held at Washington D.C., USA, in 1988 and at Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1991. He was the Editor of the Indian Journal of Political Science for ten years. He was also the Editor of theIndian Journal of Administrative Science for five years. For six years he was the Co-editor for the Journal of the Institute of Public Administration published from Lucknow. He is also currently the Editor of the Indian Journal of Public Affairs and Policy Research. Also he was the editor of the New Administrator, published by Indian Institute of Public Administration, Tamil Nadu Regional Branch, Chennai
Membership – Professional Bodies
Professor R. Thandavan is a Life Member of the Indian Political Science Association (IPSA), Indian Public Administration Association (IPAA), Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), Tamil Nadu Academy of Political Science (TAPS), Indian Society of Victimology, Institute of Criminological Research, Education and Services, Indian Society of Psychology and Indian Society of Social Sciences. He is the founder President of the Academy of Public Affairs. He is also the present President of the above Academy. He was elected as President of the Indian Public Administration Association at its Conference at Gwalior in the month of November 2002. He is elected President of the Indian Political Science Association (IPSA) at its Conference at Lucknow in December 2011
He served in the Senate of the Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai as Governor's nominee for a period of 3 years (1993-96). He was elected to Sir Theagaraya Educational Trust from the Senate of the University of Madras in 1996 and subsequently he was unanimously elected as the President of the above trust. After assuming charge as President of the above trust, Professor R. Thandavan unearthed the bogus mark sheet scandal and expelled 276 students who got admission in various courses in Sir Theagarayacollege producing the bogus marks certificates. His bold action was appreciated and admired by the academicians. This scandal is something unknown in the annals of institution of higher learning and research in the jurisdiction of the University of Madras and Professor R. Thandavan's venture is but unique. Also he served as member and President of the Pachaiyappa’s Trust Board, Chennai, one of the oldest and biggest Trust Board in the whole of Asia. He had served as a member of the Planning and Development Board of the University of Madras
He was elected to the Syndicate of the University of Madras from its Senate in March 1997 followed by two more times with the tenure of 3 years each from 21st March 2003 to 20th March 2006 and March 2006 to March 2009 respectively. He took activepart in the proceedings of the Syndicate and contributing his mite to the welfare of the teaching and student community and for the promotion of higher education. He had served as the President, Faculty of Arts, University of Madras, Chennai, and Chairman, Jan ShikshanSansthan (Institute of People’s Education), Chennai, Ministry of Human Resource Development,Government of India.
He had also served as one of the members of the Syndicate Sub-Committee constituted to exercise the powers and perform the duties of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Madras. He was also the Campus Director of the Chepauk Campus of the University of Madras. He was the Chairperson of the School of Political and International Studies of the University of Madras. Also he was the Joint Coordinator, of the NAAC Cell of the University of Madras.
He had visited U.S.A., U.K., Germany, France, Singapore and Argentina. He enjoyed the privilege of visiting a number of Universities and participating in several meetings of the teaching faculty. He has been maintaininggood rapport with several professors of foreign Universities
Educational Management: Collegiate and University level
Dr. R. Thandavan started his career as a college teacher and had collegiate experience for a decade. He continued his career at the University of Madras till his retirement in 2010. He had gained 40 years of Research Experience. For nearly four decades, he had been in the field of administration, to start with as the Head of the Department, then as a Senate member of the University of Madras and Madurai Kamaraj University, then the President of Sir Theagaraya Educational Trust, then the Trustee of Pachaiyappa’s Trust Board, then as a Syndicate Member of the University of Madras, then as the Campus Director, Chepauk Campus of the University of Madras. Thus Dr. R. Thandavan is rich with various traits due to varied exposures. His organizational leadership has steadily improved and ripened due to involvement in various kinds of activities.