Center for Pacific Studies

The Center For Pacific Studies was created within San Diego State University's Interwork Institute to respond with unique and innovative solutions to diversity related issues in the Pacific Rim. The Center for Pacific Studies has evolved out of the work initiated through the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center of the Pacific (RRTCP) and other education and training projects in the Pacific region. The Center continues to build upon the foundation of the RRTCP bringing together expertise and collaborative partnerships to address the comprehensive needs of Pacific Islanders.

""Currently the Center provides research, training, and technical assistance services in partnership with institutions of higher education, government agencies, and non-profit organizations in the following Pacific Island jurisdictions: American Samoa, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Territory of Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Republic of Palau, and the State of Hawaii.

The Center is located within San Diego State University's Interwork Institute. The Institute provides an array of programs and services related to the diverse needs of Pacific Islanders. The Center is committed to further developing and implementing practical research, program development, training, and technical assistance services that are relevant and inclusive of Pacific Islanders.

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Mission Statement

"To improve the quality of life for Pacific Islanders through collaborative research, education, training, technical assistance, and information dissemination specific to the unique needs of the Pacific Region."


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Core Values

  • The Center is dedicated to a "local" and "participatory" response to needs that affect Pacific Islanders.
  • The Center believes in collaborative partnerships with institutions of higher education, government agencies, advocacy and consumer groups to develop collaborative consumer-oriented solutions to diversity issues facing Pacific Islanders.
  • The Center is committed to "local" determination and increasing capacity to build more effective programs and services.
  • The Center is committed to the inclusion and empowerment of consumers in the determination and development of programs and services.

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  • To collaboratively develop research programs, training opportunities and services that enhance the lives of Pacific Islanders.
  • To promote the expanded use of technology within the Pacific Region.
  • To pursue and maintain collaborative relationships with and among Pacific Island organizations.
  • To acquire funds from various sources to meet the research, training, and program development needs of Pacific Islanders.

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The Center offers expert staff and partnerships that can provide comprehensive research, training and technical assistance services related to the needs of Pacific Islanders and their families. Services include:

  • Participatory Action Research
  • Technical assistance in human services
  • Specialized Higher Education Training Programs
  • "Cutting Edge" Distance Education Delivery Systems
  • Program Evaluation Services
  • Grant Development

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The Center is committed to establishing and maintaining partnerships with other Pacific Region organizations. Through partnerships, the Center seeks to assist in building capacity within the Pacific Region to develop "Pacific Solutions" to problems and issues. There is a great and emerging expertise within the Pacific that the Center respects and is proud to be associated with.

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Below is a brief list of past and present activities of the Center:


  • Education Leadership Master's in Education Program - customized training programs incorporating online distance education modalities serving American Samoa, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
  • Bachelors in Vocational Education (BVE)
  • Special Education Teacher Training Initiative (SETTI) - a collaborative distance education teacher training program with the College of Micronesia-FSM to improve the skills of teachers in meeting the needs of children with disabilities.
  • Special Education Program for Pacific Island Entities (SEPPIE) - a collaborative project with the College of Micronesia-FSM to provide special education program monitoring and technical assistance within States of the Federated States of Micronesia.
  • US Department of commerce, Bureau of Census, pacific Islander Census Information Center.
  • FSM Interdisciplinary BA Degree - SDSU, Interwork Institute has partnered with the College of Micronesia-FSM and has delivered an interdisciplinary BA degree for educators from 2004~2012.
  • American Samoa BA-CJ - San Diego State University, Interwork Institute was proud to be partnering with the American Samoa Department of Education to offer the 2010-13 Cohort of the Interdisciplinary Bachelors Degree in three departments. Specifically, this program will offer specialized courses in the areas of Criminal Justice, Public Administration, and Administration, Rehabilitation, and Postsecondary Education. The degree program will begin in September, 2010 with graduation expected in December, 2013.


  • Palau Interdisciplinary BA Degree
    San Diego State University, Interwork Institute is partnering with Palau Community College to implement an inter-disciplinary Bachelor's Degree for educators. The program is designed for practicing teachers who have completed an AS degree, including necessary general education courses needed to transfer to San Diego State University, and have a desire to complete a bachelors degree. The program provides 18 courses that have been selected to enhance the skills of practicing teachers. This will be the fourth cohort of the Inter-Disciplinary Bachelor's Degree program offered in the Republic of Palau. The degree program began in May, 2017, and will end with graduation in May, 2021.
  • American Samoa MA Degree in Education with an emphasis in Postsecondary Educational Leadership
    San Diego State University, Interwork Institute is partnering with the American Samoa Department of Education to implement a Master's Degree program designed to target school administrators within the ASDOE with a goal of improving their educational leadership and school management skills. The program is based on the application of theory to practice; therefore, each individual must be prepared to apply his/her learning in their work setting. Each student will be required to complete a research project as a culminating experience for the degree. The topic must be approved by the appropriate supervisor and have a direct application to an issue and/or program that is currently in operation or is being planned for the future. The program began in August, 2019 and will end in December, 2021. 

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