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Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Professor Emeritus



Professor Nizar Al-Holou joined University of Detroit Mercy as an Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1992, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1994, and earned the rank of Professor in 2000.  He served as Chair of the department during 2000-2007, 2010-2015, and 2016-2018.  Prior to joining Detroit Mercy, Professor Al-Holou was an Engineer, Ministry of Electricity (Energy) Damascus Syria, an Instructor in Electrical Engineering, Damascus University, worked  with USAID Fellowship, was a Teaching Assistant in Electrical Engineering, University of Dayton, was Director, Computer Engineering Institute, Damascus University, and Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Central State University, Wilberforce Ohio.


During his tenure with Detroit Mercy, Professor Al-Holou taught both undergraduate and graduate level courses including Computer Architecture, Computer Networking, Introductory Microcontrollers and Embedded Systems, Digital System Design, Digital Logic Design and Laboratory, Advanced Microprocessors, Fundamentals of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Electroscience; Circuit Theory, and Computer Programming Languages.


The emeritus nominators wrote that “Nizar has been an outstanding professor and mentor to students in the classroom as well as in research.  In addition to advising hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students over the course of his career, Professor Al-Holou has served as thesis advisor to 12 graduate students (9 Doctoral students and 3 Master’s students).  Many of his advisees have become leaders in industry and academia.” 


In the emeritus nomination letter two former doctoral students were quoted: “I was privileged to receive Nizar’s guidance throughout my doctoral work.  Nizar has a unique ability to inspire students, spark their imagination, and drive them to deliver rigorous analysis of their proposals.  He has always been able to find the critical point of pushing students to claim their potential but not overload them.  I have come to experience the delicacy of this approach as a professor and I really appreciate Nizar’s talent in this area.”


The second quote noted “In 2007, I was a member of a research team under Nizar’s supervision.  We were developing a wireless communication system to support remote prognosis of vehicle faults.  The topic was very well scoped, at the cutting edge of technology, and tremendously inspiring.  Tools and approaches that we used drove all three team members to very successful careers including a startup company.  Nizar was able to foster a healthy environment of competitiveness and team work while following up with individuals on a timely manner.  The consistency of Nizar’s dedication to his advisees is admirable and has always been appreciated by his advisees.”


Mr. Meisam Yousif, a Ford Motor Company supervisor in his emeritus nomination support letter spoke to Professor Al-Holou’s teaching methods.  When taking Dr. Al-Holou’s Fundamentals of Electrical and Computer Engineering course “I was initially astounded and intimidated by the number of methods I needed to learn to solve circuit problems, but Dr. Al-Holou taught the other students and me how [to] examine each problem from multiple perspectives.  By relating each perspective to a simple circuit concept, the other students and I learned how to master even complex problems.  Over time I began to feel invigorated by my coursework, and I felt excited to solve each question.”


Mr. Yousif continued “Dr. Al-Holou has always been a strong proponent of collaborative learning, and he frequently groups students together to solve questions in the classroom or troubleshoot a circuit in the laboratory.  During a course taught by Dr. Al-Holou, he challenged me to act as project manager and to find individual strengths in each member of my group.  In doing so, I learned how to lead, collaborate with others, and inspire each person to add to the team as a whole.  Through encouragement by Dr. Al-Holou and my experiences in his classroom, I not only gained invaluable leadership skills, but I found my own voice as well.  The skills I gained from learning to work with other has undoubtedly helped me in my career, as I was promoted to a role of supervisor at Ford Motor Company even before finishing my Master’s degree.  I have no doubt that this is a direct result of experiences I had from my work with Dr. Al-Holou.”


Most faculty never hear about the lasting affect the faculty member has on a student who graduates from their program.  In his emeritus nomination support letter, Dr. Mohamad Abdul-Hak is very clear about Professor Al-Holou’s impact when he wrote “Dr. Nizar’s natural compassion was evident during my first interaction, where I walked into the Electrical Engineering Department in 2004 to inquire about the Engineering Doctorate program.  His pure enthusiasm, vast knowledge intensified my eagerness to enroll in the program.  His ability to help me view the world through the eyes of a humble scientist with a passion to continue to learn was outstanding.  Even today as a Senior Manager at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development I find myself explaining engineering concepts in ways that I remember him explain them to me.  Especially in my dissertation status update discussions, Dr. Nizar emphasized about my personal and broad intellectual development.  The messages and interaction are woven into every interaction I can remember having with him and it is this that distinguishes him from most other faculty I know.”


Mr. Yousif also emphasized the affect Professor Al-Holou had on him when we wrote “I am extremely delighted to express my gratitude to Dr. Nizar Al-Holou for his constant guidance, encouragement, and support throughout my master’s degree journey.  Over the more than three years that I have known Dr. Al-Holou, he has continuously supported me both professionally and personally.  During my coursework, he set high standards for me and showed me how to maintain.  He always pushed me to work more diligently and develop critical thinking skills to master my classes and take ownership of my research projects.  On a personal level, he guided me through tough times and never doubted my abilities, not even when I doubted myself.  He taught me to be always persistent, and as a result of him mentorship I now look forward to achieving even higher goals than I ever expected of myself.”


The nomination letter speaks to Professor Al-Holou’s “research interests include inter-vehicle and intra-vehicle networking, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), distributed processing systems with an emphasis on automotive applications, and digital and embedded systems. He has collaborated on grants totaling over $2 million from industry and government to support department research. His publication record includes 25 refereed journal papers, over 100 refereed conference papers, two book chapters, a laboratory man, and numerous technical reports submitted to funding agencies..."


Professor Al-Holou’s articles have been published in refereed Journals: International Journal On Advances in Systems and Measurements, Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering, Canadian Journal on Multimedia and Wireless Networks, Canadian Journal on Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Transactions of SAE, Journal of Passenger Cars-Electronic and Electrical Systems, Vehicle System Dynamics, IEEE Transaction on Fuzzy Systems, IEEE Transaction on Vehicular Technology, International Journal of Modeling and Simulation, Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transaction on Education Journal, ASEE Journal of Engineering Education, and Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation, ISA.


Refereed conference papers were published by The International Conference on Computer and Applications, International Conference on Smart Cities, Systems, Devices and Technologies, International Conference on Smart Grids, Green Communications and IT Energy-Aware Technologies, Electro-Information Technology Conference, The ITS World Congress, World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing, Society of Digital Information and Wireless Communication, SAE Technical Papers, Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo, SAE World Congress, IEEE Workshop on Performance on Computers and Communications, IEEE/ACS International Conference on Pervasive Services, and many more.


Other aspects of service to a profession is the delivery of poster sessions, speeches, and papers.  Professor Al-Holou’s contributions are numerous including twenty-one poster sessions and twenty-three speeches.  Some poster session subjects covered are: Real Time Autonomous Automotive Forward Collision Avoidance System, Advanced Sensor Fusion Algorithm for Vehicle Safety System, Reliable Driver Assistant System Using Sensor-Data Fusion, Vehicle Dynamic Routing Prediction Using Petri Net, and Developing a Traffic Network Based on Wireless Communication to Reduce Vehicle Energy Consumption and Emission. Speeches and papers often covered the delivery of electrical and computer engineering. For example, Teaching Electric Circuits Using Computer-Based Instruction, Teaching Using Multimedia in Electric Circuits, Towards the Integration of Computer-Based Instruction and Matlab, Development of Computer-Based Instruction in Electrical Engineering, and Computer-Based Instruction Development.  


It is a faculty member’s responsibility to be not only a good teacher and researcher but also to contribute to the department, university, and profession service as a committee member or leader.  Professor Al-Holou served on over thirty-eight department, college, and university committees.  Of significance are his contributions to college search committees, college Computer and Technology Committee, ABET self-study reports, E&S Curriculum and Standards Committee, Departmental Doctoral Qualifying Exam Committee, E&S Laptop Committee, and ECE Curriculum Committee   For the University, Professor Al-Holou served as a member of the University Promotion and Tenure Committee, University Computing and Technology Committee, Distance Learning Task Force, University Future Computing Committee, and UDM/Visteon Steering Committee.


Selected professional service includes Advisory Board, Sir Syed University Research Journal of Engineering and Technology; Chair a session at 2017 International Conferences on Security and Management; Advisory Board, ALHOSN University Journal of Engineering & Applied Sciences; ABET Program Evaluator, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology; Steering Committee, 2016 World Congress in Computer Science; Editorial Board, Journal of Electrical Engineering; Member, International Program Committee, 2019 International Conference on Security & Management; Steering/Organizing Committee, 5th Annual Conference on Computational Science & Computational Intelligence; Congress Steering committee, 2108 World Congress on Computer and Applications; Editorial Board, International Journal of Embedded Systems and Applications; Program Committee, Southern Bioengineering Conference.  Professor Al-Holou’s vitae includes eight-six professional service opportunities including service as a program committee member for over thirty international, national and regions conferences.


Professor Nazir Al-Holou has received numerous honors and awards during his career.  Examples of these are: Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (only 8% of the IEEE members are elevated to the rank of Senior Member); Chair IEEE/SEM-Computer Society Chapter; Best Paper Award from The Seventh International Conference on Smart Cities, Systems, Devices and Technologies; Outstanding Achievement Award from the 2018 World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing; Community Leadership Award, American Syrian Arab Cultural Association; Distinguished Cornerstone Community Member Award, Hamadeh Educational Services; and, Excellence Civic and Community Involvement Award, Aga Khan Education Board for the U.S.


Of note is the number of awards won by graduate students he supervised.  For IEEE Poster Presentation Award there has been 1st, 2nd, and 3rd honors; three Student Silver Paper Awards from Intelligent Transportation Society – Michigan; U.S. Department of Transportation University Transportation Centers Program Outstanding Student of the Year award; and The Michigan Ohio University Transportation Center Outstanding Student of the Year award.


The final paragraph of Mr. Yousif’s support letter he wrote “Professor Al-Holou’s sincere dedication to his students and the University of Detroit Mercy’s mission is both admirable and inspirational.  He has encouraged me to give back through mentorship, advocacy, and leadership, whether at work or through professional societies such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).  Once I found Dr. Al-Holou to be my advocate, I knew I would have the ability to carry out my goals as a student, as an engineer, and as a professional in my field.”


In preparation for his career of choice, Professor Al-Holou earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Damascus University Damascus, Syria (1976), a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering with a Computer Engineering specialization from Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio (1983), and a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering with Computer Engineering specialization from University of Dayton, Dayton Ohio (1987).


Professor Nizar Al-Holou’s nomination for Professor Emeritus was approved and conferred by Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi, President of University of Detroit Mercy on August 19, 2019.

University of Detroit Mercy

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