Chapman University’s Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI) has been awarded a new $3.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With the new funding, TPI will operate the California Educator Preparation Innovation Collaborative (CalEPIC), one of only two such educator preparation transformation centers in California.

In alignment with the missions of both TPI and the Gates Foundation, CalEPIC supports equity and access to high-quality general education classrooms for all students.

“The Thompson Policy Institute is proud to host one of only a few fully funded Technical Assistance Centers in the United States,” said TPI Director Meghan Cosier, Ph.D.  “With this additional financial support from the Gates Foundation, TPI will provide technical assistance to PK-12 teachers and teacher educators to support innovative approaches to teaching all students.”

CalEPIC Mission and Focus Areas

CalEPIC’s mission is to develop a strong and diverse educator workforce by supporting pre-service teachers and educator preparation programs (EPPs). The goal is to ensure a diverse and robust teaching workforce that meets the needs of all students, including Black, Latinx, LGBTQIA+, and those students experiencing poverty, as well as students with disabilities.

CalEPIC’s focus areas include

  • ensuring students with disabilities, including those with extensive support needs, are addressed across all credential types;
  • embedding Universal Design for Learning and Social-Emotional Learning;
  • considering the intersections of disability, race, language, and socioeconomic status, especially as it relates to special education and the school-to-prison pipeline; and
  • focusing on anti-bias and anti-racist practices across all credential areas.

CalEPIC Partner Institutions

To deliver its mission, CalEPIC plans to collaborate with independent and nonprofit higher education teacher preparation programs and their district partners. During its initial year, the center is partnering with five teacher education programs in California:

  • Claremont Graduate University
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Saint Mary’s College of California
  • University of Redlands
  • University of San Francisco

Teacher candidates in the five CalEPIC partner programs will center their work on inclusion of students with disabilities, anti-racist practices, social-emotional learning (SEL), and culturally and linguistically relevant teaching (CLRT).

“Through our partnership with our five EPPs, CalEPIC will ensure equitable access and opportunities that result in critical learning, equity, justice, and wellness outcomes for all California students,” said TPI’s Associate Director Audri Sandoval Gomez, Ph.D.

Ongoing Funding

To date, TPI has received more than $11 million in grants and donor support.

Most recently, the William S. and Nancy E. Thompson Family Foundation awarded TPI an additional $500,000 grant, continuing its support of TPI’s mission to reduce the barriers that limit access to learning, living, and working for individuals with disabilities.

Earlier this summer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also awarded TPI a separate $784,000 Strategic Practices for the Advancement of Inclusive Schooling (SPAIS) grant. Leveraging the work of the California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling (CAIS), TPI is serving as the lead agency on the SPAIS grant to support educator preparation programs (EPPs), public charters, and public school districts to improve outcomes for historically marginalized students.

Under the SPAIS grant, TPI is providing professional development and technical coaching to in-service PK-12 educators and administrators, while CalEPIC is focused on pre-service teachers working to earn their teaching credentials and teacher preparation programs.


Thompson Policy Institute on Disability
The Thompson Policy Institute engages in technical assistance and research to improve the lives of people with disabilities and, in doing so, improve life for all of society. For more details about TPI’s research, publications, and technical assistance programs, visit