MSUToday
Published: May 16, 2019

Music professor earns Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award

Contact(s): Bob Murphy Michigan Association of State Universities bmurphy@masu.org, Michael Sundermann College of Music office: (517) 353-2043 sunderm1@msu.edu, Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709 Kristen.Parker@cabs.msu.edu

Michael Dease, an associate professor of jazz trombone and improvisation in the College of Music at Michigan State University, has received a Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award. 

The Michigan Association of State Universities' Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award recognizes the outstanding contributions and dedication exhibited by the faculty from Michigan’s public universities to the education of undergraduate students. Each university was invited to nominate a faculty member who has had a significant impact on undergraduate student learning through classroom instruction, applied research, experiential learning, innovation and mentoring. 

Dease, who began teaching at MSU in 2011, is the recipient of the 2018 MSU Teacher-Scholar Award, has received multiple Trombonist of the Year awards as voted on by music media and has won three Grammy awards. 

“Professor Dease has effectively introduced the valuable mentorship of the stage and professional arena into the university classroom, a feat with which jazz educators have long struggled,” said MSU Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs June Pierce Youatt. “He is truly dedicated to the success of his students and more broadly all of those in his area and beyond.”

His teaching reaches down into high schools and takes place across Michigan and around the world at world-famous venues. Dease motivates by mentoring, recording, publishing, performing with students and uses his own production company to teach the latest concepts of technical production and marketing. Students receive customized and individual weekly lessons; many have earned honors in major competitions and produced their own recordings, linking theory and practice. 

Dease was part of the first class of jazz students at The Juilliard School, where he earned his bachelor’s in music and master’s in music, both in jazz studies. He is also founding director of the Jazz Institute at Brevard Music Center in North Carolina and director of MSU’s Jazz Orchestra III and the international award-winning Spartan Jazz Trombones.  

Dease is one of three recipients. 

The other recipients were Brahim Medjahed, professor of computer and information sciences at University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Hiba Wehbe-Alamah, professor of nursing at University of Michigan-Flint.

The Academic Affairs Officers of the Michigan Association of State Universities recognized the nominees and recipients on May 13 during a luncheon in Lansing. This is the 13th year of the awards program. 

Michael Dease, an associate professor of jazz trombone and improvisation in the College of Music at Michigan State University, has received a Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award.