Communications sciences and disorders professor dies, legacy of learning and dignity lives on

Bobby Blanchard

Christine Matyear, energetic teacher, cat-lover and skeet-shooter, died Thursday morning.

Matyear, a senior lecturer in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, died while she was home with her family after fighting ovarian cancer for several months, department chair Craig Champlin said.

Matyear started working at UT in 1998. While teaching in the communications sciences and disorders department, she also taught the subject’s honors sequence, the Senior Fellows Program and signature courses in the School of Undergraduate Studies.

Champlin said Matyear advocated for students and took the vocation of teaching seriously.

“She had high standards and integrity,” Champlin said. “She was very conscious about insuring that learning was occurring. I think students really responded to that.”

Shannon Jacobson, communications sciences and disorders senior, said Matyear always had a smile on her face.

“To me, she embodied the phrase ‘age is just a number,’” Jacobson said. “She was a really passionate person in everything she did, from her cats, to her grandkids and to the classes that she taught.”

Jacobson said she took three classes with Matyear, who always made class engaging.

“Her classes were definitely tough, but they were really fair,” Jacobson said. “Her tests were notoriously hard, but I never felt like it was a burden to study, because she presented the subject material in such a knowledgeable and enthusiastic way.“

Allie Jensen, communications sciences and disorders sophomore, said Matyear was one of a kind.

“She was always super energetic in lecture and made a difficult subject like hearing science easy to understand,” Jensen said. “She had a personal story for every subject we talked about that complemented the massive amounts of information we were learning.”

Jacobson said Matyear also loved her cats. She said she had friends who took an online class with Matyear, and the professor would hold up her cats to the webcam.

Roderick Hart, dean of the College of Communication, said Matyear was of “inestimable” value to the college.

“Her generosity of spirit and breadth of vision will be profoundly missed by faculty and students alike,” Hart said.

Champlin said memorial services will be announced soon.

Printed on Friday, October 5, 2012 as: Senior lecturer dies, known for enthusiasm: Students laud professor's care, accessibility