Category: Faculty

Kit Cischke Selected for Dean’s Teaching Showcase

Kit Cischke, ECE Sr. Lecturer
Kit Cischke, ECE Sr. Lecturer

The Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominee for this week comes from the College of Engineering. Dean Wayne Pennington has chosen to recognize Kit Cischke, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and faculty advisor for the Wireless Communication Enterprise.

Associate Dean Leonard Bohmann indicates that the “students love Kit because he brings his practical experience into the class, showing the practical applications of the theory.” As evidence, Eta Kappa Nu, the Electrical and Computer Engineering student honor society, selected Kit as their Professor of the Year in both 2013 and 2014. Bohmann continues: “Kit has the ability to make complex topics easy to understand. He works hard to get students to understand and have fun doing it.”

Kit indicates that he does this through analogies, humor, and being open and approachable to students. He strives to be a “complete human being” with his students, sharing stories about his family and life. He also tries to “embrace technology”, using an iPad to deliver his lectures and an audio recorder so students can review them.

Kit has a long history of excellent teaching contributions at Michigan Tech. Brian Broeders, an alumnus who has been working as a product engineer for Plexus Engineering Solutions since 2009, praised Kit in a 2010 Linked In post for similar reasons. “He teaches class material in a clear and easy to understand format and his lab exercises help students make use of topics learned in class…I wish I had more instructors like him when I was in school.” Current students also praise his involvement as an organizational advisor and the fact that he really cares whether students are learning the material.

Cischke will be formally recognized with the 11 other Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominees at a luncheon near the end of spring term. Please join Dean Pennington and the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in thanking Kit for his outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the College of Engineering.

Story as posted in Tech Today, March 25, 2015


Dr. Dennis Wiitanen Honored with Legacy Marker

IMG_2575denniswiitanenThe unveiling of the first Legacy Marker for Alumni Way was held in front of the EERC. The Legacy Marker serves to honor someone associated with Michigan Tech, and it was unveiled and presented as a surprise to the Dennis O. Wiitanen, Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dennis O. Wiitanen received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from Michigan Tech in 1963 and 1967 respectively, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1970, all in electrical engineering.

In 1970, he joined the electrical and computer engineering department at Michigan Tech, where his major research interests were in the areas of insulating materials and power systems. Dr. Wiitanen taught courses in both electric machines and power systems for over forty years. He is currently a Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Wiitanen is a member of the IEEE’s Power Engineering Society, Education Society, Industry Applications Society, and Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society, serving on several committees and subcommittees, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan.

See the Photo Gallery

See the Video from UpperMichiganSource

Dennis Wiitanen Legacy Monument
Dennis Wiitanen Legacy Monument


Bruce Mork Named Wiitanen Professor of Electric Power Systems

Bruce Mork, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named the Dennis Wiitanen Professor of Electric Power Systems.

The Wiitanen Professorship was established to honor longtime ECE faculty member Dennis Wiitanen, who retired in May 2012. Unlike most professorships, which are named for a single donor, the Wiitanen Professorship is supported by an endowment underwritten by a variety of industry, foundation, and alumni sources, including ITC Holdings, Consumers Energy Foundation, DTE Energy Foundation and electrical engineering alumnus David Brule.

Mork was named to the position after a yearlong selection process. He received high praise from leaders in the power industry and was unanimously supported by the major sponsors of the professorship.

“Bruce is the natural choice for the Wiitanen Professorship,” said Dan Fuhrmann, chair of electrical and computer engineering. “He has been a leader in teaching, research and curriculum development in the power and energy area within the ECE department and across campus for many years. He is a leading expert in power system protection, an area of critical need in the utility power industry as our infrastructure transitions to the smart grid. Plus, he was the driving force behind our online courses in power and energy, a model for the rest of the department and indeed the rest of the University.”

Dennis Wiitanen was also gratified by Mork’s appointment.

“I have had the pleasure of watching Bruce grow from a newly minted PhD assistant professor at Michigan Tech to an internationally recognized leader in the power field,” he said. “I am very pleased that he will be the first recipient of the professorship carrying my name.”

Bruce Mork was honored in his acceptance.

“It’s been a privilege to work with Dennis over the last 21 years of his outstanding 42 year career at Michigan Tech. He’s been an exemplary senior colleague and role model for us all. It’s an honor for me to be the first recipient of this prestigious Professorship. The resources provided will support ongoing developments in education and research which strategically address technology and work force needs of the Electric Power sector. We owe a lot to Dennis and this will greatly help us to maintain and advance our strong program.”

The professorship has a five-year renewable term and carries with it an annual discretionary stipend to support research equipment, graduate students and other expenses to build and maintain an active research program in the power area.


Zhuo Feng receives DAC Best Paper Award

ECE assistant professor Zhuo Feng received Best Paper Award at the 2013 Design Automation Conference (DAC), held this week in Austin, Texas, for his paper titled “Scalable vectorless power grid current integrity verification”. 

The DAC is a major annual conference in the electronics industry, this year with 747 papers. Prof. Feng’s paper was the sole winner, topping a slate of 8 nominated papers from academic and research institutions across North America and Europe.

For more information or a copy of the paper see http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2488840


The Circuit – Newsletter 2011-2012

ECE 2011-2012 newsletter The Circuit is now available. The publication highlights recent activities in the department including: 

  • ECE Education in Tune with Industry – electrical and computer engineers in demand at Fall 2011 Career Fair 
  • The Changing Face of Engineering – Women in ECE
  • Establishment of the Dennis Wiitanen Professorship in Electric Energy Systems – “Doc” Wiitanen to be honored at May 4 retirement celebration
  • Paul and Susan Williams Center for Computer Systems Research Dedicated
  • Student’s Winning Satellite to be Launched into Orbit
  • Senior Design: A Renaissance Approach


Dennis “Doc” Wiitanen Announces Retirement

After 42 years of distinguished and dedicated service to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Michigan Tech, Professor Dennis O. Wiitanen announces his retirement, to be honored May 4, 2012. Prof. Wiitanen is a nationally recognized leader in electric power and energy systems. His most significant impact and his lasting legacy, though, is in undergraduate education. Thousands of Michigan Tech students have completed his classes in power system design and analysis, and have gone on to take their place in the workforce.

Dennis was, and continues to be, a tireless team member and advocate for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. No one knows more about the inner workings of the Department. He has served as the Associate Chair for the Department for twenty-five years and for five different chairs. For many of those years he was Chair of the Undergraduate Programs Committee, guiding the evolution of our educational programs to keep pace with ever-changing technology and workforce needs.

We invite you to participate in a very special initiative being put forward by the ECE Department, an initiative to honor Dennis Wiitanen on the occasion of his retirement. In recognition of everything that “Doc” has done, the Department is establishing the Dennis Wiitanen Professorship in Electric Power Systems. The funding to make this professorship a reality is 70% in place, but we need your help to finish the job. Our goal is to raise $300,000 to bring the total endowment to $1 million. Endowments are private gifts invested to produce income annually for use as faculty support, scholarships, or other needs. In this case, the income would be used to support the Wiitanen Professorship holder and to provide funds for supporting ECE students, purchasing equipment, and funding travel. Your gift can make it happen.

This will be a unique professorship on the Michigan Tech campus, in that it will be named in honor of one of our own rather than a single external donor. Several years ago, a fund was established for a professorship in electric power systems; gifts were solicited from several industry partners, with the primary contributors being Detroit Edison, Consumers Energy, Northern States Energy (now Xcel Energy), Upper Peninsula Power, and Wisconsin Public Service. The account has sat dormant, accumulating investment income, but the time has come to put the money to its intended use. Because the funding sources are so diverse, the ECE Department decided that the best title to put on the position is the name of the one person with a common connection to all of these entities, someone who has had a bigger role in the education of power engineers than anyone else at Michigan Tech: Dennis Wiitanen. For more information or to make a gift or pledge.

It is our goal to have everything in place by the time of Prof. Wiitanen’s retirement dinner, which will take place on the Michigan Tech campus on Friday, May 4, 2012. Please join us in celebrating the many accomplishments and contributions of Dennis O. Wiitanen to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Michigan Tech University. See Wiitanen Celebration for event details and to purchase tickets.