Season 3 - Published December 31, 2022

Hidden Curriculum in Engineering with Dr. Idalis Villanueva Alarcón

Helping engineering instructors become aware of the Hidden Curriculum is an important pedagogical step toward building learning environments that support diversity and belonging. Dr. Idalis Villanueva Alarcón talks to us about practical ways of increasing awareness and recognition of hidden messages in the classroom and help mentor and professionally develop students in engineering.

Reference(s) mentioned in this episode:

1. I. Villanueva, T. Carothers, M. Di Stefano, & M.T.H. Khan. (2018). “There is never a break”: The hidden curriculum of professionalization for engineering faculty. Education Sciences, 8 (4), 157: p.1-21.

2. I. Villanueva, M. Di Stefano, L. Gelles, K. Youmans, & A. Hunt. (2020). Development and Assessment of a Vignette Survey Instrument to Identify Responses due to Hidden Curriculum among Engineering Students and Faculty. International Journal of Engineering Education, 36(5), p. 1549–1569.

3. R.J. Downey & I. Villanueva Alarcón. (2022). Reading the world of engineering education: An exploration of active and passive hidden curriculum awareness. American Society of Engineering Education, Liberal Education, Engineering & Society Division, St. Paul, Minneapolis, MN, June 26-29, 2022, Paper ID 37254, p. 1-12.

4. I.Villanueva Alarcón & C. Elizabeth Sunny & (2022). Engineering students’ conceptions of the hidden curriculum in different institution types: A comparative study. American Society of Engineering Education, Minorities in Engineering Division, St. Paul, Minneapolis, MN, June 26-29, 2022, Paper ID 36562, p. 1-17.

5. V. Sellers & I. Villanueva. (2021). What strategies do diverse women in engineering use to cope with situational hidden curriculum? Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition (virtual), Women in Engineering Division, Long Beach, CA, June 27-30, 2021, Paper ID #32762, p. 1-16.

6. L. Gelles, K. Youmans, & I. Villanueva. (2019). Sparking Action: How Emotions Fuel or Inhibit Advocacy around Hidden Curriculum in Engineering, European Society of Engineering Education (SEFI), Budapest, Hungary, September 16-19, 2019, p.1-10.

7. I. Villanueva, M. Di Stefano, L. Gelles, & K. Youmans. (2018). Hidden curriculum awareness: a qualitative comparison of engineering faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. World Engineering Education Forum, November 12-16, 2018, Albuquerque, NM. p.1-6.


Dr. Villanueva Alarcón is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education in the University of Florida. In 2019, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award for her NSF CAREER project on hidden curriculum in engineering. She has a B.S. degree is in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and a M.S. and Ph.D. degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Also, she completed her postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health in Analytical Cell Biology in Bethesda, Maryland and worked as a lecturer for 2 years before transitioning to a tenure-track in engineering education. Her experiences as a first-generation engineer, Latinx, woman of color, introvert, and mother has shaped the lens and approaches that she uses in her research and practice. She hopes her work will not only challenge normative ways of knowing but also challenge new ways of research scholarship and practice.