Faculty Directory

Contact Information

Atwater Kent Laboratories, 214
Phone: +1-508-831-5273
Fax: +1-508-831-5491

John A. Orr

John A. Orr  joined the faculty of WPI in 1977 and served as head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department from 1988 to 2003.  From 2006 until 2008 Dr. Orr was Dean of Undergraduate Studies.  From 2008 until 2010 he served as Provost. He received the BS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the MS degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.  Dr. Orr began his professional career at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, NJ.  At WPI Dr. Orr's research interests span several aspects of digital signal processing.  Recent work is in the area of positioning systems, particularly precision personnel location in the indoor environment, and he maintains an interest in signal processing applied to power systems.  His other professional interest is in the area of engineering education where he has been involved in curriculum development at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as in assessment and accreditation activities. He served as General Chair of the Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2002.  Dr. Orr is a member of the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission.  He is a Fellow of the IEEE and of the American Society for Engineering Education, and a member of Eta Kappa Nu, the ECE honor society.  He is past president of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads’ Association, and a past member of the Board of Governors of Eta Kappa Nu, and of the Board of Directors of IEC.

Research Interests

  • digital signal processing
  • image analysis/pattern recognition
  • power quality
  • communications


  • BS, University of Illinois, 1969
  • MS, Stanford University, 1970
  • PhD, University of Illinois, 1977

Featured Publications

  • K. Bush, J. Gray, M. Holmes, K. Kosinski, J. Orr, L. Razzaq, J. Rulfs, , "How do you Teach Engineering in Kindergarten and First Grade?," to be presented, ASEE Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, June 18-21, 2006.
  • D. Cyganski, J.A. Orr, B. Woodacre, R. Angilly, "Performance Limits and Field Tests of a Precision Indoor Positioning System using a Multi-Carrier Approach," Institute of Navigation, National Technical Meeting, San Diego, CA, Jan. 26, 2005.
  • J. A. Orr, J. Miller, J. Rulfs, P. Quinn, "Lessons Learned in a University-Public School Partnership for Teaching Engineering in Grades 2-6," ASEE Annual Conference, Portland, OR, June 12-15, 2005.
  • K. Arshak, E. Jafer, J. Orr, A. Arshak, D. Morris, O. Korostynska, D. McDonagh, J. D. Quartararo, H. Daempflung, C. Y. Huang, "Design of a low power capacitive pressure sensor signal-conditioning interface using PLL," Third IEEE International Conference on Systems, Signals & Devices - SSD'05, Sousse, Tunisia, March 21-24, 2005.
  • U.S. Kim, J. A. Orr, D. De Lorenzo, J. Gautier, P. Enge, "Phase Effects Analysis of Patch Antenna CRPAs for JPALS," ION GNSS 2004, Institute of Navigation, Long Beach, CA, Sept. 21-24, 2004. (Winner of "best of session" award)

Professional Highlights

  • Weston Hadden Professor of Electrical Engineering, 1988-1993.
  • George I. Alden Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 1993-1996.
  • IEEE-WPI Community Service Award, 2003.
  • Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2003.
  • Leadership and Service Award, ECE Department Heads Association, March, 2004.
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