Dease receives professor of the year award

Jazz professor honored by the Michigan Association of State Universities.

Michael Dease has been named Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year.
Michael Dease is known for involving students in professional performance opportunities every opportunity he has. Here he plays with Luther Allison shortly before Luther graduated with his master's degree in Jazz Studies.
Michael Dease's latest release is the acclaimed Bonafide on Posi-Tone Records.


Michigan State University College of Music Associate Professor of Jazz Trombone Michael Dease has been recognized as one of the state's three recipients of the Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award, which recognizes the outstanding contributions and dedication exhibited by the faculty from Michigan’s 15 public universities to the education of undergraduate students.

The Academic Affairs Officers of the Michigan Association of State Universities recognized the nominees and recipients of this annual award on May 13, 2019 during a luncheon held at the Lansing Center. The other two winners are University of Michigan-Dearborn Professor Brahim Medjahed and University of Michigan-Flint Professor Hiba Wehbe-Alamah.

“Professor Dease is among nominees continuing to bring new scholarship and innovation to Michigan’s public universities and surrounding communities,” said Dr. Daniel J. Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. “These professors have the highest dedication to student success and produce degree holders who advance Michigan’s prosperity.”

Michael Dease is Associate Professor of Jazz Trombone and Improvisation at Michigan State University. He was part of the first class of jazz students at The Juilliard School, where he earned his B.Mus. and M.Mus. degrees, 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.

He has taught at MSU since 2011 and is the recipient of the 2018 MSU Teacher-Scholar Award and multiple Trombonist of the Year awards as voted on by music media. Dease’s performance accolades include three GRAMMY Awards: lead trombone on the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in 2011 and 2018, and tenor and bass trombone on the Best R&B Single in 2008.

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, and 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.

“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 Michigan State University 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.”


This press release prepared by the Michigan Association of State Universities, the coordinating board for Michigan’s 15 public universities, providing advocacy and fostering policy to maximize the collective value these institutions provide in serving the public interest and the State of Michigan.

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