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Three Michigan academics have received Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year awards from a state group.

Brahim Medjahed, who teaches computer and information science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn , Michael Dease, an associate professor of jazz trombone and improvisation at Michigan State University, and Hiba Wehbe-Alamah, a nursing professor at UM-Flint, were recognized for their contributions and dedication to education. 

“These professors have the highest dedication to student success and produce degree holders who advance Michigan’s prosperity," said Daniel J. Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities, which gave the honor.

Medjahed, who earned degrees from the University of Science and Technology–Houari Boumediene in Algiers, Algeria, and Virginia Tech University, has taught at UM-Dearborn since 2004. He also is associate dean for academic programs and initiatives for UM-Dearborn at the Rackham Graduate School of the University of Michigan.

He has designed a summer program that had students develop mobile apps, and involves his students in translational research working with Ford Motor Co., the school said.

Medjahed also helped create UM-Dearborn’s undergraduate program in cybersecurity and co-leads a regional collaborative dedicated to increasing student data literacy, the school said.

Last year, he received UM-Dearborn’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the College of Engineering and Computer Science’s Excellence in Teaching award. 

In addition, Medjahed has been elevated to a senior member within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 
 
“Professor Medjahed is a visionary and passionate educator and scholar who has dedicated much of his career to building and supporting new opportunities for undergraduate students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn as well as for teachers and prospective students in the larger community we serve," said Catherine A. Davy, the university's provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Dease has taught at MSU since 2011 and won the 2018 MSU Teacher-Scholar Award and multiple Trombonist of the Year awards voted on by music media, the school said. He also has won 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.

The Juilliard School graduate is founding director of the Jazz Institute at Brevard Music Center in North Carolina and director of MSU’s Jazz Orchestra III and the acclaimed Spartan Jazz Trombones.

“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 June Pierce Youatt, MSU's executive vice president for academic affairs. “He is truly dedicated to the success of his students and more broadly all of those in his area and beyond.”

Wehbe-Alamah joined UM-Flint in 2006 and teaches transcultural health care at the undergraduate level as well as women’s health and advanced transcultural health care in the master’s and doctoral programs, according to the school website.

She has presented, guest-lectured or published in the United States, Australia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, co-authored two books and earned accolades including UM-Flint’s Scholarly or Creative Achievement Award. In 2018, she was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and recognized as Arab American of the year by the Arab American Heritage Council, UM officials said.

She also volunteers as a nurse practitioner at a local public health department.

“Since I first met her, Dr. Wehbe-Alamah has demonstrated a passion for teaching and student engagement that promotes deeper learning,” Chancellor Susan Borrego said during an awards luncheon this week. “She is more than a great teacher, she is a transformational one, and very worthy to be named a 2019 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year.”

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