MUFA Award for Outstanding Service Winners

MUFA Award Winners

MUFA Award for Outstanding Service Winners

Following the Annual General Meeting, a special reception was held in honour of the recipients of the MUFA Award for Outstanding Service.  The award was presented to Catherine Anderson and Ellen Amster in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the University.  The selection committee, chaired by the Past-President Laura Parker, included Michelle Dion (Associate Professor, Political Science), Sarah Robinson (TMG) Denise Smith (MUALA), Stephanie Bertolo (VP Education, MSU) and Beth Couchman (Unifor). Michel Grignon read the following citations on behalf of the selection committee.


Dr. Catherine Anderson is this year’s recipient of the MUFA Award for Outstanding Service. Reviewing her dossier, the Selection Committee was unanimous in its endorsement. Catherine, a Teaching Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Languages, has established an impressive record of service at McMaster and shows a genuine commitment to her peers and students.

Catherine is known for her creative and innovative approach to teaching and curriculum development as well as her willingness to serve her department, Faculty and the University in countless ways. The committee was particularly  impressed with Catherine’s commitment to education through the development of a free, open access textbook. This text is accessible for free to students at McMaster and beyond, as well as to anyone interested in learning about the science of language. In March 2018, Catherine’s teaching innovations were recognized with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Award.

Catherine is also an active researcher and has made significant contributions to graduate education in linguistics serving on many graduate thesis committees. As one of nominators noted: “Dr. Anderson’s broadness of expertise is one of the pillars that the department’s undergraduate, and later graduate, programs in Cognitive Science of Language could be built on.” Catherine is also known for her sincere and deep commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion at McMaster and she is a frequent mentor to students and colleagues.

Beyond her impressive contributions to education Catherine is an active member of the McMaster community, serving on numerous committees within the Faculty of Humanities as well as on the University Senate and various Senate committees, including the Senate Executive. No consideration of Catherine’s commitment to service would be complete without an acknowledgement of her years of dedicated service on behalf of MUFA. Catherine has been an active member of the executive for two separate terms, and is currently our Grievances & Special Enquiries officer. Given Catherine’s commitment to fairness there is no one better suited to this role.  On behalf of the 2019 MUFA Service Award Committee, it is a great honour to present this award to Catherine Anderson in recognition of her distinguished record of service to the University.


Dr. Ellen Amster is this year’s recipient of the MUFA Award for Outstanding Service. Reviewing her dossier, the Selection Committee was unanimous in its endorsement. Ellen has gone beyond expectations in her role as the Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine and is building bridges between the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Health Sciences. Through her teaching, research, and service activities, Ellen has enhanced the reputation of McMaster and made significant impacts on our campus and beyond.

Ellen is known for having created a History of Medicine and Medical Humanities web portal for students, which brings together many resources from libraries, archives and museum collections around the world, as well as practical information on grants and scholarship. In just a few short years this comprehensive resource has become widely used and enables students to explore the medical humanities, especially the history of medicine. 

The Selection Committee was impressed by Ellen’s development of a field course on Maternal and Infant Health in Morocco. This course gave students a culturally-contextualized education experience and led to a follow-up research meeting benefiting many researchers. Ellen’s commitment to diversity was clear to the committee, particularly through the topics covered in the lecture series she organizes as well as a new course developed for the Bachelor of Health Sciences and the Arts & Science Programs.

Collectively, these activities contribute to McMaster’s research mission and international reputation. Ellen “enriches the McMaster community, and exemplifies the contributions the MUFA Outstanding Service Award is intended to recognize.” On behalf of the 2019 MUFA Service Award Committee, it is a great honour to present this award to Ellen Amster in recognition of her distinguished record of service to the University.