Revolutionizing the way people work to ensure the world is a healthier place.

About the Academy

About Us

Academy for Professional Excellence, a project of San Diego State University School of Social Work, was established in 1996 with the goal of revolutionizing the way people work to ensure the world is a healthier place. Our services incorporate principles of anti-racist, trauma-informed, and recovery oriented practices. Providing over 70,000 learning experiences to health and human service and justice system professionals annually, the Academy creates experiences with the mission to provide exceptional learning and development experiences for the transformation of individuals, organizations, and communities. The Academy continues to grow with new programs and a variety of workforce development solutions in Southern California and beyond.

Vision, Promise, Mission

We start with our why to convey our purpose and deepest belief. The narrative that flows from our why represents the tangible manifestations of that belief. The Academy uses the concept called The Golden Circle, developed by Simon Sinek, to connect why we do to what we do.

Core Values


Using expertise and the application of best practices to respectfully serve stakeholders and coworkers.


Being reliable and responsive to stakeholders and coworkers.


Achieving organizational goals through mutual sharing, teamwork, and cooperation with stakeholders and coworkers.


Seeking ways to enhance the Academy’s work and develop creative solutions to challenges encountered.


Demonstrating openness, flexibility, and adaptability in thought and action.


Being honest, ethical, fair, and considerate in interactions and decisions.


Creating an inclusive, respectful, and welcoming environment that appreciates and builds on the diverse talents, cultures, backgrounds, experiences and opinions of coworkers and stakeholders.


Seeking a state of work/life balance where we can function at our best, learn and grow, and find meaning in our work.

DEI at the Academy

We are on a journey of integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into the fabric of our organizational culture to reshape core elements that define our internal environment: our values, norms, behaviors, practices, and systems. We do this by intentionally engaging in strategy work centered around our goal to integrate culturally responsive and recovery-oriented practices into our daily work, services, and interactions that nurture healing, healthy relationships, and changed behaviors.

Learn more about DEI at the Academy, including our approach and how we hold ourselves accountable to this work.


The Academy for Professional Excellence primarily serves the Southern California region including Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties (though trainings offered vary by county).

Most of our customers are direct service workers, supervisors, managers, and executives employed by southern county health and human service agencies. However, we do offer trainings and consulting services to other non-profit organizations as well as CEs and other educational opportunities for the general public. For more information, please contact us.


The Academy manages an annual operating budget of approximately $13 million dollars, which is comprised of grants and contracts from the state, federal and local governments, and private foundations. The fiscal agent for the Academy is San Diego State University Research Foundation, which was incorporated in 1943 and administers grants and contracts on behalf of San Diego State University. It is a nonprofit corporation, self-financed, and authorized as an auxiliary organization by the Education Code of California.

Commitment to Quality Training

The Academy for Professional Excellence program evaluations are guided by the RE-AIM Framework. Developed by Glasgow (1999), the framework is designed to enhance the quality, speed and impact of efforts to translate research/training into practice in five key steps:

  • Reach your intended target population;
  • Efficacy or effectiveness of the intervention is determined;
  • Adoption by target staff, settings, or institutions is measured;
  • Implementation consistency, costs and adaptations made during delivery are documented;
  • Maintenance of intervention effects in individuals and setting over time is documented.
    The RE-AIM framework allows the Academy to payclose attention to essential program elements including external validity; ensuring that we are implementing effective, generalizable, evidence-based interventions.
  • For more information please see Quality Assurance and Training Evaluation.

The Academy for Professional Excellence is a project of San Diego State University’s School of Social Work, managed through San Diego State University Research Foundation.

Consulting Services

The Academy for Professional Excellence provides a full spectrum of organizational development services, including training, facilitation, needs assessments, strategic planning, and research, all of which are designed to address challenges faced by health and human service agencies and community-based social service agencies. Specialized projects can be negotiated based on your needs.

To explore the services we offer, please contact:

Jennifer Tucker-Tatlow, MSW
Chief Executive Officer

Consulting Contact Form

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