UP Manila associate professor wins historic first Gawad Pangulo competition

Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan of the Medical Informatics Unit in UP Manila bested three other UP faculty members in the final round of Gawad Pangulo: A Competition for Progressive Teaching and Learning held last 13 February 2015.

Specializing in internal medicine-endocrinology, Dr. Isip Tan teaches the graduate introductory course on health informatics (HI 201) to doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

“I want to see [my students] learning. I want to make learning visible,” she says.

To do this, Dr. Isip Tan requires her students to create their own e-portfolios and personal learning networks on varied social media platforms, and takes advantage of blended learning, holding for the most part all her classes online via the University Virtual Learning Environment (UVLe). Her job as a teacher, she stresses, is to be a network facilitator.

The associate professor used the P50,000 awarded to her from the first round to develop teaching videos inspired by massive open online courses (MOOCs) of top foreign universities. Her teaching philosophy is based on Connectivism, a learning theory for the digital age.

UP Manila offers the sole master’s program in health informatics in the Philippines.

Three other faculty members made it to the final round of the competition.

They are Dr. Aletta Yñiguez, assistant professor at the Marine Science Institute in UP Diliman; Dr. Wilfredo Jose, professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering in UP Diliman; and Dr. Aimee Lynn Dupo, associate professor of the Institute of Biological Sciences in UP Los Baños.

In his message, UP President Alfredo E. Pascual focused on the importance of innovation to teaching, especially now that more tools and schemes are available at our disposal. He added that generating the interest of students is key to getting high grades.

He also congratulated all four finalists for “the excellence and effort they had demonstrated.”


UP President Alfredo E. Pascual flanked by the finalists (from left): Dr. Aletta Yñiguez, Dr. Wilfredo Jose, Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan and Dr. Aimee Lynn Dupo


Pioneer awardee Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan receives her certificate of recognition from President Alfredo Pascual and Vice President for Academic Affairs Gisela Concepcion. The prize also includes 150,000 pesos.

Gawad Pangulo is an initiative of the Office of the President with the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA) as implementing and coordinating body.

The first-ever Gawad Pangulo is a milestone in UP history, according to VPAA Gisela P. Concepcion, as it highlights how important it is to link our faculty to the students – the experts in content and pedagogy mentoring and parenting the next generation of experts.

Gawad Pangulo will be open for nominations again later this year. Initially conceptualized as a one-time competition, it will now be expanded to include different categories for graduate and undergraduate courses.