Professional Development of Latinx Engineers on Hidden Curriculum: An Exploratory Study

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

2019 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)


IEEE Education Society

Publication Date


Award Number

NSF, Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC) 1653140


NSF, Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)


This work-in-progress exploratory study presents the perceptions and expressions of Latinx (a gender-neutral term for individuals from Latin American origins) engineers when learning about hidden curriculum (HC). HC represents the lessons learned in educational or working settings that are not necessarily communicated formally. HC is typically used to help administrators and educators to uncover the unseen or unrecognizable issues of a given environment, in an effort to identify inclusive and diverse strategies for success of their students and employees. Developing critical consciousness, or the process of gaining knowledge about the systems and institutionalized structures, developing a sense of agency, and taking action against the forces that perpetuate those structures is important when challenging the HC. In collaboration with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the research team served as both instructors and researchers in a professional development (PD) session to teach a group of 45 Latinx engineering faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from across the United States about how to uncover HC and strategies needed to translate these concepts in their instruction and other responsibilities as engineering educators. As a follow-up, a subset of attendees from the original PD, completed a mixed-method survey about HC. Using the frameworks of HC, engineering identity, and critical literacy, the research group analyzed the written qualitative responses. Results suggested that Latinx faculty had a slight change in their awareness about HC but mainly did not transcend to levels where critical consciousness could be achieved. Also, faculty expressed a disconnect between the culture of engineering at their institutions and their overall sense of belonging and empowerment needed to enact meaningful change.