I had more than just academic support at A&M-Commerce and in the Department of Literature and Languages. I had a community.

Shelby Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

  • Alum
  • Faculty
Applied Linguistics | Literature and Languages

Dr. Shelby Miller has worked in higher education for over 15 years, in both teaching and student services positions. She earned her master's and doctorate degrees at A&M-Commerce. While balancing the demands of a doctoral program and working full-time, Shelby was also a single mother of two children. She credits her academic success to the supportive community at A&M-Commerce. That's why Miller believes in the power of community and strives to be a pillar of support in her own community. After she graduated, Miller worked at the University of North Texas at Dallas as a linguistics instructor, but she was thrilled to return to her alma mater as an assistant professor. As an A&M-Commerce alum, she is eager to use her role to “pay it forward” by motivating and empowering students, just like her professors did for her. When she isn’t teaching and caring for her students, Shelby loves spending time with her husband and three children.

A Conversation with Shelby Miller

Why do you like teaching?

One of my favorite things about teaching is seeing students make the connection between the course content and the outside world. I love it when students send me stories, memes or screenshots about experiences they have or things they find in their daily lives that reflect things we've covered in class. This is also one of the reasons why I love linguistics: language is everywhere, so real-world connections are everywhere.

What do you like most about your career?

The fulfillment of ideas. In my career, any idea is worth exploring because it may turn into a research endeavor, a new lecture for a class, or even a partnership with another department. The field of linguistics fits perfectly within this notion of ideas and creativity because it’s so interdisciplinary.

Tell us about an influential professor or person on campus during your time at A&M-Commerce.

Dr. Sal Attardo. I cannot even count how many times Dr. Attardo rooted for me, supported me, encouraged me, and, when needed, had the ‘tough’ talks with me to get me in gear. He was and continues to be a pillar in my professional and personal endeavors.

What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?

Find where you “fit.” For me, that was A&M-Commerce. “Fit” pertains to more than whether a university has the right program for your career goals or right labs for your research. “Fit” also includes finding your place and envisioning yourself in the program's community. I had more than just academic support at A&M-Commerce and in the Department of Literature and Languages. I had a community. Whether you are going to be an online student or a face-to-face student, there is a community for you to fit into.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

As a child, I vividly remember playing loan officer. We had a sectional sofa, and I would take the cushions and stack them up to serve as my office furniture. I had pens and paper and would have my brother sit across from me at my “desk” to take out a loan. I often reflect on the connection between that world of play and my real career journey. While seemingly unrelated (I've yet to get a desk made of pillows in the real world), I think there are shared themes: I enjoy being of service to people and helping them take steps toward their dreams (whether those dreams are fulfilled by a pretend loan from a 10-year-old or by pursuing an education).

Educational Background

Research Interest

  • Pragmatics
  • Computer text analysis
  • Accessibility
  • Personality Theory

Honors and Awards

  • 2nd place, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Annual Research Symposium, 2018

Selected Publications

  • Miller, S., Ergül, H., & Attardo, S. (TBD). Laughter and embarrassment in a complicated task. In Alba, L., & M. Haugh (Eds.), Sociopragmatics of Emotion (pp. TBD). Manuscript under review by Cambridge University Press.
  • Ergül, H, Miller, S., Kramer, K., and Attardo, S. (TBD). “Alternative Conceptualizations of the Smiling Intensity Scale (SIS) and their Application to the Identification of Humor.” In B. Priego-Valverde (Ed.), Multimodal Approaches of Humor in Interaction (pp. TBD). Manuscript under review by Mouton De Gruyter.
  • Miller, S., Ergul, H., & Attardo, S. (2022). Dr. Miller, that's a world record! Frame breaking in experimental settings. Pragmatics & Cognition, 29 (1). https://doi.org/10.1075/pc.22009.mil
  • Miller, S. (2021). ADA compliance and teaching linguistics online. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America – Special Issue on Scholarly Teaching in the Age of COVID and Beyond, 6 (2), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v6i2.5095
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