About Us

What is ITE?

The San Diego State University Institute for Transformative Education (ITE) is a life-changing education organization. Founded in 1983, by our Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Park, ITE provides an invaluable service to our communities’ multicultural low-income, underrepresented, and underserved students. We aim to provide access to educational and life resources to support students from elementary to college and career. Using multiple grants and sources of funding, ITE has implemented a variety of ongoing programs and initiatives to achieve this transformative mission.

Cynthia Park, Ph.D.

Message from Our Founder

“Accepting the whole student, by honoring the students’ choices, and by providing the student with the academic, social and emotional support to be successful in an environment that is often unfamiliar to that student’s way of being and knowing.”

Cynthia Darché Park has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research. She is the Executive Director and founder of the Institute for Transformative Education (formerly the Pre-College Institute), which houses two Upward Bound programs, two Talent Search programs, a Health Careers Opportunity (HCO), and the Pathways to Careers in STEAM Education Service-learning Tutoring Program. Dr. Park also directs the HCO Undergraduate Research Summer Program and serves as the faculty advisor for the Faculty-Student Mentoring Program (F-SMP) where she mentors undergraduate students and works with her mentees through college graduation and into graduate or professional school. 

Dr. Park is a Professor of Teacher Education, at the SDSU School of Teacher Education. She co-teaches the GEN-S 280 and the TE 362 service-learning courses. She believes that with the appropriate access to resources, opportunities, services, and support systems, all students can develop a skill set that can help them change their narrative, create a new story, and essentially improve their life chances through advocacy and learning. Dr. Park has received numerous local, regional, and national awards for her community engagement and service to underrepresented communities.

Who we are

While ITE serves a large number of students and organizations, we are led by a Management Team that includes founder, Dr. Cynthia Park. Together, they lead and nurture the work of dozens of staff members dedicated to creating transformative educational experiences for students.

Meet the Management Team

Team of collaborative individuals who bring knowledge. Network of professional and academic support to make possitive contributions to students academic trajectory. Collective ideas and share in mission and vision and transformative educartion. 

Fiscal Specialist

Executive Assistant

Director of Service Learning Pathways to Careers in STEAM Education

Evaluation Research Specialist

Director and Reflective Writing Specialist, Office of Community Engagement (OCE)


What we believe

The Institute for Transformative Education is a collaborative organization that helps support students and their communities. Our work goes beyond our programs and services. Our programs, services, and innovative practices are grounded Social Capital Theory.

Our Vision
Empowering individuals to improve their cross-generational life chances through advocacy and learning
Our Mission
To promote college access and completion for underserved students through excellence and innovation in education
Our Values
Excellence - Ethic of Caring - Equity Advocacy - Learning

Working together

ITE works with K-12 schools across San Diego as an early-outreach, college-access program. The institute also offers services through its partnerships with the Hoover Community Connection, College Avenue Compact, Sweetwater Compact for Success, the Division of Faculty Advancement and Student Success, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, the College of Engineering, the College of Health and Human Services, the College of Sciences, and the UCSD School of Medicine.

Our Pathways to Careers in STEAM maintains strong collaborative parnterships with the Office of Financial Aid and SDSU Budget Office that provide current SDSU students with Federal Work-Study funding through America Reads and America Counts to provide direct tutoring in partner K-12 classrooms. Tutors enroll in a service-learning course (TE 362, GEN S 280, ED 201) to develop a learning community that offers opportunities to apply course knowledge, reflect on their field experiences, practice transferable skills that deepen their knowledge and growth as individuals. ITE builds and bridges connections with school site administration teams and teachers to support student's educational journey. 

High Impact Practices

San Diego State University students have the opportunity to engage with us and transform education through High Impact Practices.

Learn more about our programs

I engage in meaningful work, build and bridge connections, and leverage resources for the benefit of our students and communities.
Nadia Rohliger, '23
Help us Transform Lives!
Follow Us