headshot photo of Dr. Don Cardinal

Dr. Don Cardinal

Professor, Professor Emeritus of Education
Attallah College of Educational Studies
Expertise: Disability Studies; Inclusive Education; Special Education; Autism; Disability Policy
Office Location: Reeves Hall
Office Location: Thompson Policy Institute
Scholarly Works:
Digital Commons
California State University, Fullerton, Bachelor of Arts
California State University, Fullerton, Master of Science
The Claremont Graduate University, Ph.D.


Dr. Donald N. Cardinal is a professor of education in the Attallah College of Educational Studies. He served as dean of Chapman University's College of Educational Studies from 2002 to 2015. Don currently works in the Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI) and is TPI's founding director emeritus. He also serves as chairperson of the advisory board for the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, part of the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine.

Before entering academia, pursuing the goal of a more inclusive society, Don worked alongside the most marginalized student populations in our society, frequently holding the labels of severe emotional disturbance, severe and profound mental retardation, autism, and severe behavior disorders. Above all, Don holds in highest regard the complex and interchanging relationship between student and teacher, centered on the presumption of competence. Don has authored and co-authored numerous articles, books, and book chapters in a variety of areas including evaluation, measurement of quality, teaching methods in special education, and collaboration.