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Kerry Widder, Ph.D. - Milwaukee School of Engineering. Milwaukee, WI, US

Kerry Widder, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Milwaukee School of Engineering


Dr. Kerry Widder's areas of expertise include electrical engineering and computer hardware.

Education, Licensure and Certification (3)

Ph.D.: Electrical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison 2011

M.S.: Electrical Engineering, Marquette University 1984

B.S.: Electrical Engineering, Marquette University 1983


Dr. Kerry Widder is an associate professor in the Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering Department at MSOE where he primarily teaches courses in electrical engineering. Prior to joining academia, Widder was a senior hardware design engineer for Siebe Environmental Controls, a senior hardware design engineer for Computer Process Controls, a principal engineer at Invensys Building Systems, and an SQA engineer for Volt Workforce Solutions.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Embedded Systems

Electrical Engineering

Computer Hardware

Accomplishments (1)

Gerald Holdridge Excellence in Teaching Award


Affiliations (2)

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) : Senior Member
  • American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) : Member


Event and Speaking Appearances (2)

Light and Lively – Using Creativity and Humor in the Classroom

ASEE North Midwest Section Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2017  

Impact of a First- and Second-year Culminating Experience on Student Learning in an Electrical Engineering Curriculum

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Seattle, Washington, 2015  

Selected Publications (4)

Light and Lively – Using Creativity and Humor in the Classroom

ASEE North Midwest Section Conference

Widder, K.R.


Impact of a First- and Second-year Culminating Experience on Student Learning in an Electrical Engineering Curriculum

ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Prust, C.J., Kelnhofer, R.W., Mossbrucker, J., Widder, K.R., Tran, H.V., Williams, S.M.

2015 This paper presents findings from an impact study of a lower division student experience within an undergraduate electrical engineering curriculum. This experience, culminating in the second year of the curriculum, is integrated across multiple first and second year courses and includes elements commonly found in senior-level capstone project courses. An introductory programming course utilizing an embedded platform is the first course in the sequence. The final course in the sequence requires students to design, build, and test an autonomous mobile robot. Through a series of milestones, students systematically complete both the hardware and embedded software tasks required for the project. The final milestone involves an industry-sponsored event where the entire student cohort participates in a robot competition.For a number of years, anecdotal evidence has suggested that the course sequence has significant positive impacts on student experience throughout the curriculum. It has been postulated that this experience results in significant knowledge gain, reinforces their decision to pursue a career in electrical engineering, and builds camaraderie amongst the student cohort. A study was conducted to better understand these potential impacts. Part 1of the study used correlation analysis to determine the relationship between student grades in the project course sequence and other courses in the curriculum, as well as key metrics such as GPA. Part 2 was an ethnological study in which students and recent graduates were asked a variety of questions regarding the impact of the experience on other courses, on their competency in curricular outcomes, and on their overall experience within the academic program. This paper describes the course structure, the current implementation which has evolved over many years of offerings, and presents assessment results indicating its impact on student performance and learning in the remainder of the curriculum.

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Using Shadowing to Improve New Faculty Acclimation

ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Williams, S.M., Hasker, R.W., Holland, S.S., Livingston, A.R., Widder, K.R., Yoder, J.A.

2014 A shadowing program for assisting new faculty members in becoming successful educators attheir new institution is described. This program aims to foster a dialogue between new facultyand seasoned colleagues, providing opportunities for sharing lessons learned through experience.At the beginning, a new faculty member observes lectures delivered by a colleague teachinganother section of their course, providing practical examples of how the institution’sexpectations translate into practice, as well as pedagogical ideas for effective instruction.Reciprocal observation by the seasoned faculty member provides early feedback to the newfaculty member that is valuable in getting off to a good start. Details of the structure of theshadowing program are presented. Five case studies are offered by faculty who went through theprogram. They share their experiences in how the program was effective for them and in how itcould be improved.

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Analogy and Humor as Tools for Understanding and Retention

ASEE IL-IN Section Conference

Widder, K.R., Will, J.D.

2013 Best practices for teaching require the instructor to endeavor to help the student learn, not just for the instructor to deliver content. Student learning involves gaining understanding of concepts and developing the ability to apply those concepts to problems, but also retaining these abilities. Many excellent mechanisms for achieving these outcomes have been developed, including techniques such as active learning and problem-based learning. This paper proposes the use of analogies and humor as complementary techniques for increasing the student's understanding of concepts and promoting their retention of those concepts. We give several illustrative examples, as well as an assessment of the effectiveness of these techniques in two courses where they were applied.

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