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New Advance HE Symposium: The Hidden Curriculum

24 Jun 2019 | Patrick Baughan On Thursday 18th July, Advance HE will be hosting a symposium entitled “The Hidden Curriculum: Unpacking the academic practices critical for student success”. This is a new focus for Advance HE's regular symposia, so in this blog Patrick Baughan, Senior Adviser at Advance HE and, along with Tim Hinchcliffe, one of the two lead facilitators, offers some background about what will be addressed.

We think that there are some important reasons why the issue of the hidden curriculum should be ‘unhidden’ and discussed in an event like this, for higher education professionals. Participation rates in higher education grow generation by generation, and as a result the demographic profile of the student body changes. In response to this shifting profile, educators must reconsider the assumptions they make in curriculum design taking into account the accrued cultural and social capital of this emergent student population. As a result, we thought it was timely to develop a new event to look at these issues, and by way of several questions which we will seek to examine. The questions are as follows:

•    What parts of our curriculum are hidden? How well are they understood by both educators and students?
•    What assumptions are made about the ‘ready-state’ of students on our courses?
•    Are there any particular student groups that are disadvantaged by current curricula design practices?
•    What approaches are effective in assisting students to transition into and through study in higher education?
•    What are our individual and collective responsibilities to unearth and tackle hidden curricula?

Starting off with a keynote address (to be given by the excellent Paul Kleiman), and continuing with a series of participant-led workshops and presentations, we hope that this innovative symposium will provide some new insights and solutions for the enhancement of curriculum design within departmental and institutional contexts. The event should be of wide appeal, but especially to academic leaders and professional staff with roles incorporating the oversight and design of curriculum, as well as retention and success for learners.

As mentioned, our keynote will be Professor Paul Kleiman, who is based at Middlesex University and an established expert in the area. Details at:

If any readers of this blog are interested in presenting a paper or workshop, you can still submit via the following link (the deadline for submissions is at 10.00am, 28th June 2019). You can also register to attend at the same link:

We hope to see plenty of you there and will provide an update blog at the end of July.

We would also be interested to know your experiences and views about the hidden curriculum (or hidden curricula, for there may be several). How have you seen it manifested and has this been a good or bad influence? Are there any aspects of the hidden curriculum you would like to see addressed at future Advance HE events? Please let us know. 

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