Winner of the President's Award for Excellent Performance and Achievement in Teaching 2010/11

President's Teaching Award Winner 2007/2008

  Prof. Iris F.F. Benzie

Department of Health Technology and Informatics


Prof. Iris F.F. Benzie, Chair Professor & Associate Head in the Department of Health Technology and Informatics (HTI), is honoured for her excellent performance and achievements in Teaching. Prof. Benzie joined the University as Lecturer in November 1982 and was promoted to Chair Professor in 2008. Since joining PolyU she has taught full time and part time students at Ordinary Diploma, Higher Diploma, Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels. Prof. Benzie’s main area of expertise is Clinical Chemistry, but she has taught PolyU students many other subjects, including Biochemistry, Medical Science, Research Methods & Biostatistics, Communication & Learning Skills and Ethics. She has also jointly organized many workshops with the Education Development Centre for new teachers, and is always happy to share her enthusiasm and experience about teaching and learning with colleagues across the PolyU community.

Prof. Benzie’s teaching philosophy centres around student engagement and responsibility, developing a culture of mutual respect and trust and establishing common goals that are ambitious but attainable. She is committed to achieving high quality, active and deep learning in her students and promoting their confidence to support their development as responsible members of society and future leaders of their profession and the community. Her teaching methods are innovative, creative, stimulating, highly effective and very well received by students. Her teaching results are highly impressive in terms of student feedback, performance, attitude and achievements in learning.

Prof. Benzie makes a substantial contribution to planning, administration, management and delivery of teaching at Departmental, Faculty and University levels. She continually strives to enhance her own teaching and mentors colleagues, shares teaching materials, ideas and insights. Prof. Benzie is team leader in several Teaching & Learning projects. The most recent is ‘we teach, we learn’, a project by the Department of Health Technology and Informatics that involves staff and students of three distinct programmes, and will involve students in helping other students to learn.

In 2007, Prof. Benzie was honoured to receive the President’s Award for Research & Scholarly Activities and she remains an active researcher in the area of oxidative stress, antioxidants and health. However, she sees teaching as her core work at PolyU. Good research underpins teaching and can have widespread beneficial effects and long term impact on society, but good teaching has a direct, immediate and long lasting beneficial impact on students’ lives, their future and the development and well-being of their community.

A treasured message from among the many she has received from students echoes Prof. Benzie’s view on what makes a good teacher and the difference good teaching can make: “A master can tell you what she expects of you, a teacher though awakens your own expectation. You are to me both a master and a great teacher who is always willing to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge….. Enormous gratitude for always keeping me motivated on the path of learning.”

(Excerpt from the programme of the Awards Presentation Ceremony)