“There Is Never a Break”: The Hidden Curriculum of Professionalization for Engineering Faculty

Idalis Villanueva, Utah State University
Taya Carothers, Northwestern University
Marialuisa Di Stefano, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Md. Tarrique Hasan Khan, Utah State University


The purpose of this exploratory special issue study was to understand the hidden curriculum (HC), or the unwritten, unofficial, or unintended lessons, around the professionalization of engineering faculty across institutions of higher education. Additionally, how engineering faculty connected the role of HC awareness, emotions, self-efficacy, and self-advocacy concepts was studied. A mixed-method survey was disseminated to 55 engineering faculties across 54 institutions of higher education in the United States. Quantitative questions, which centered around the influences that gender, race, faculty rank, and institutional type played in participants’ responses was analyzed using a combination of decision tree analysis with chi-square and correlational analysis. Qualitative questions were analyzed by a combination of tone-, open-, and focused-coding. The findings pointed to the primary roles that gender and institutional type (e.g., Tier 1) played in issues of fulfilling the professional expectations of the field. Furthermore, it was found that HC awareness and emotions and HC awareness and self-efficacy had moderate positive correlations, whereas, compared to self-advocacy, it had weak, negative correlations. Together, the findings point to the complex understandings and intersectional lived realities of many engineering faculty and hopes that through its findings can create awareness of the challenges and obstacles present in these professional environments.