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Meet the Faculty Advisory Editor: Shurli Makmillen


Photograph of Shurli Makmillen.

Shurli Makmillen is an Assistant Professor of English at Claflin University. Outside of teaching, Shurli serves as a Faculty Advisory Editor (FAE) for Young Scholars in Writing. In Vol. 20, she worked with Maegen Sargent to edit her article, “Analyzing Hedge Frequency of Art Historical Undergraduate Research Essays for Writer Development.”

Working with Maegen was a pleasure for Shurli since “Maegen did her undergraduate degree at an institution where I had worked for 5 years,” and she was delighted to be assigned to work with another Canadian. Furthermore, as FAEs are assigned to work with students researching within their expertise, Shurli felt that her background in Writing in the Disciplines (WID), discourse analysis, and linguistic pragmatics was a perfect fit for Maegen, who “was doing a linguistic analysis of student writing in her discipline of art history, looking at modal expressions.” She also enjoyed working over the summer with Maegen since “the suggested revisions and expansions asked a lot of her, and she rose to the occasion.”

Maegen’s project was the result of directed readings, so she already knew a lot about her topic but was open to reading more. For Shurli, one of the biggest challenges as an FAE was reviewing the content that took her in new and interesting directions. “Many disciplines have been the focus of the type of study Maegen engaged in, but not Art History. This focus propelled the project and inspired her thinking.”

Shurli was introduced to the FAE position through the Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies right before the pandemic. Having just moved from Vancouver, Canada to South Carolina, “this community resonated with my own interests and pedagogy. I met a lot of the people involved in the journal and expressed an interest working on it as an FAE.” She describes the FAE position as “straightforward, with deadlines and benchmarks, and involves other undergraduate students in the substantiation feedback stage, such that useful experience with that part of the publication process is available as well.”

Shurli has always loved helping her students through Writing Centers and within her current courses, and she thinks that “working with YSW authors is a rewarding opportunity to spend more time seeing projects to their fruition.” She encourages other faculty members to take on the position: “It’s fun and rewarding.”

This post was written by Alex Merritt.