Recognized for Community Engagement: DeGroote Honours Three of its Own

September 12, 2019 | Hamilton
Contributed by Izabela Szydlo, DeGroote Writer

Maureen Hupfer, Benson Honig and Brian Detlor were recently recognized by the DeGroote School of Business when it held its inaugural DeGroote School of Business Awards for Community Engagement.


One professor and her students are making a local impact by working with the City of Hamilton in pursuit of goals identified in the City’s Food Strategy. Another professor is helping to make the transition for new immigrants easier through his work with the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council (HIPC). And a third professor has teamed up with the Hamilton Public Library (HPL) to create a Digital Literacy Social Lab. All three of these DeGroote School of Business faculty members were recently recognized when the School held its inaugural DeGroote School of Business Awards for Community Engagement.

The accolades, presented earlier this summer at an awards ceremony, were created to recognize teams of DeGroote and community representatives who demonstrate a commitment to initiating and supporting excellence in community/DeGroote initiatives.

The DeGroote School of Business Award for Community Engaged Scholarship celebrates a local (southwestern Ontario) community-based research partnership that produces and mobilizes knowledge in ways that are mutually beneficial.

Brian Detlor, a full-time professor in the Information Systems Area, was the recipient of this award for his research collaboration with HPL. In conjunction with McMaster’s Office of Community Engagement, the project investigated the efficacy of public libraries’ approaches to digital literacy skills development and the promotion of digital literacy among the communities that public libraries serve.

With digital literacy referring to the skills and know-how required by Hamilton residents to function and fully participate in today’s digital society, Detlor’s nominator noted, “In partnership with community organizations, Dr. Detlor is inspiring the use of existing resources of our City in getting the residents of Hamilton ready for success in the digital era. This research partnership has a strong potential of inspiring similar initiatives in other Golden Horseshoe communities…”

Detlor received a $1,000 cheque made out to his community partner, HPL.

The DeGroote School of Business Award for Community Engaged Practice, meanwhile, recognized faculty members who demonstrated exemplary contributions to DeGroote or local (southwestern Ontario) initiatives. Those initiatives were required to include projects that strategically and sensitively integrated with local communities and aligned with their values while enriching their experience.

Maureen Hupfer, associate professor in Health Policy and Management, was the first of two recipients for the work her and her students have completed over the last two years to address various aspects of the City of Hamilton’s Food Strategy. Most recently, the professor and her students concentrated on a recommendation from the Food Strategy to promote physical access to healthy local food in all neighbourhoods. To do so, they developed a marketing plan for a healthy neighbourhood corner/convenience store.

Benson Honig, professor in the Human Resources and Management Area and the Teresa Cascioli Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership at McMaster University, meanwhile, was recognized for his research project “Syrian Immigration in Hamilton, Labour Market and Entrepreneurship Integration”. Its objective was to gain a better understanding of the contemporary refugee immigrant labour market and entrepreneurship integration. And, in collaboration with members of the Syrian community and HIPC, it explored best practice policy and actionable recommendations such as creating initiatives that foster integration through motivation and inspiration for a systemic approach to progress in English language accomplishments across all Hamilton ESL education.

“The work Maureen and her students are doing with the City of Hamilton Public Health Department … is inspiring and impactful,” said Anna Danielova, Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs and Accreditation, and Associate Professor, Finance and Business Economics, as she presented the awards. “The work Benson is doing with the HIPC … is important and life changing for those affected.”

Both Hupfer and Honig received $500 cheques made out to their community partners.

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