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Teaching Excellence Program

The Hidden Curriculum

Date: 12:45pm - 1:30pm PDT April 3 Location: J.R. Howard Hall 302

J.R. Howard Hall 302

What is the hidden curriculum? According to author and associate professor Buffy Smith, “the hidden curriculum consists of the ‘norms, values, and expectations’ that govern interactions among students, faculty, staff and administrators,” and the hidden curriculum poses particular challenges for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students (Insider Higher Ed, 2014).

It’s easy to take for granted some of the well-established norms of academia. For example in the Chronicle Review’s, Can This Man Change How Elite Colleges Treat Low-Income Students?, Harvard University’s assistant professor of education, Anthony Jack describes how “An administrator at another college told [him] she realized that some of her low-income students thought ‘office hours’ meant hours that belonged to her, during which she shouldn’t be disturbed. That reveals more than a mere miscommunication, Jack argues; it represents the ‘gaps in expectations between faculty and students about what is required to succeed in college’.”

Georgetown University’s associate professor Marcia Chatelain (who will be leading our on-campus workshop next week) wrote about the need to Help First-Generation Students Master Academe’s ‘Hidden Curriculum’ in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Dr. Chatelain recently co-taught a course designed specifically for first-generation, low-income, and/or underrepresented students, and has generously shared her syllabus with us. There are a number of important ideas to consider (and articles to read) in her syllabus, especially as we work together to develop and refine our new general education offerings.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • To what extent did you have to navigate a “hidden curriculum” when you were a student?

  • What have you done in your teaching or advising to help new students better understand the norms, values, and expectations of Lewis & Clark?

  • What guidance or resources would you need in order to more effectively support first-generation, low-income, and/or underrepresented students in your classes?

  • How might aspects of Dr. Chatelain’s course fit into or influence your own teaching next year?

All TEP Pedagogy Lunches last about an hour and meet in the conference room in JR Howard Hall 302 (unless stated otherwise). You are welcome to bring your own lunch. Coffee, tea, and cookies are provided.  Although an RSVP is not required, a rough headcount would be helpful. If you plan to attend the TEP lunch, please RSVP below or email

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