Professor; Special Advisor to the Provost, Student Experience

ODMSc (Waterloo), PhD (Toronto), FAAO

Telephone: (519) 888-4567 x46286
Fax: (519) 725-0784
Office: OPT 337
Lab: OPT 247


    Marlee Spafford is a professor at the School of Optometry and Vision Science and the Special Advisor to the Provost on Student Experience.  She is an optometrist with an MSc degree in physiological optics and a PhD degree in theory and policy studies in education.  Professor Spafford has earned 7 awards for teaching excellence in areas such as communication, ethics, case analysis, and systemic disease.  She has held various administrative posts, including: Associate Dean of Science, Undergraduate Studies (2013-2020), Interim Director (2011-2013), Associate Director, Academics & Research (2006-2011), Clinic Director (1997-2003), Electrodiagnostic Clinic Head (1990-2013), and Admissions Officer (1986-1997). Her research program explores aspects of healthcare education, communication, socialization, equity and service delivery.  A Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a consultant for the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, Professor Spafford is a reviewer for numerous academic and professional journals and a member of the editorial board of Optometric Education.


    • Healthcare professional education, communication, socialization and equity
    • Professional gatekeeping
    • Service delivery
    • Approved PhD supervisor

    Teaching interests

    • Communication, ethics, systemic disease, visual electrophysiology, clinical techniques, case analysis

    Undergraduate courses

    • OPTOM 360 - Professional Ethics and Optometric Communication
    University of Waterloo

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