University Consortium Member

Mary Jean Sanspree, PhD

Research Professor
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Mary Jean Sanspree, PhD, University Consortium Member

Mary Jean is a Professor and Associate Scientist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with primary appointment in the UAB School of Optometry and secondary appointment in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education.    She trains teachers of the visually impaired, with concentration in deafblindness, and directs the UAB School of Optometry Vision Science Research Center’s Outreach and Education Module.  Within the Module, she administers several grants for research concerning rural eye care delivery, the UAB Alabama Deaf blind Project, the UAB Orientation & Mobility project, and grants from the Alabama State Department of Education for training and stipends in visual impairment teacher training. 

Mary Jean’s current research interests include learning styles for students with sensory impairments, literacy and diabetic retinopathy related to access to education and medical care.  Since 2002, she has conducted descriptive research concerning access to eye care and the prevalence of diabetes and glaucoma as well as quantitative/qualitative research concerning obesity and eye disease in the Alabama rural Black Belt Region.  Her research has been supported by the Centers for Disease Control, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Vision Service Plan and Central Alabama Community Foundation. 

Mary Jean is a charter member of AERBVI and has served on the regional and state level in many officer positions.  She has also served as the Council for Exceptional Children Division on Visual Impairments President and currently serves on the CEC Professional Standards and Policy Committee and as the Knowledge and Skills representative from DVI.  She is also a Specialized Professional Associations reviewer for National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Mary Jean is a Rotary International Past District Governor for the northern half of Alabama, current District Finance Chair, Interact Chair and a Paul Harris Fellow.  Mary Jean has served as Club President, leader on a Rotary grant Braille project in Jamaica, Assistant Governor, District Grants Chair, and Council of Governors.  As a  She and her husband Danny have two sons and two grandsons.