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Mary Helen Kashuba, SSJ, D.M.L.

Mary Helen Kashuba, SSJ, D.M.L.

Professor of French and Russian
Foreign Language and Literature Department
Fournier Hall, 2nd flr., Room 221B

Sister Mary Helen Kashuba, SSJ, DML is Professor of French and Russian.  She completed her studies for Russian at Fordham University, and her doctorate in French at Middlebury College.  She received a Fulbright Grant for study in France, and two grants to study Russian in the former Soviet Union.  She has spent most of her life teaching at Chestnut Hill College, where she is also Chair of the Department of Foreign Language and Literature.  Sister Mary Helen participates regularly in local, regional, and national Foreign Language Associations, where she has also held major offices.  She is Past President of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), past Board member of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL) and The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).  In addition, she currently fills leadership roles in the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA) and the Modern Language Association of Philadelphia and Vicinity (MLAPV). Sister Mary Helen presents frequently at professional meetings of these and other associations.  

Sister Mary Helen’s scholarly work includes articles on Camus and Tolstoy published by the Modern Language Association in their “Approaches to Teaching” series, on pedagogy and literature in the NECTFL Review, and a translation in Teilhard Studies. She has also authored chapters on French and Russian literature and on the Sisters of St. Joseph.  She has written a history of Chestnut Hill College, Tradition and Risk (1999), and has continued to research the legacy of the College.  She has also published many book reviews in The French Review and the NECTFL Review. Among her scholarly interests are the origins and history of the Sisters of St. Joseph and Chestnut Hill College, advocacy for Foreign Languages, and French and Russian language and culture.

Among Sister Mary Helen’s awards are the reception of Commandeur in the Palmes Académiques from the French Government, the Nelson Brooks Award for Leadership in the Profession, and several awards for excellence in teaching, including the Lindback Award, the Dorothy Ludwig Award from the AATF, and the PSMLA Educator of the Year.  Although active in Foreign Language leadership, research, and scholarship, her main focus has always been her students. She considers herself above all a teacher, and tries to inspire a love of learning and a pride of accomplishment in her students.

Educational Background: 
  • B.A., Chestnut Hill College, 1955
  • M.A. in Russian, Fordham University, 1964
  • D.M.L. in French and Russian, Middlebury College, 1971
  • Study at Sorbonne, Laval University, Moscow State University, Leningrad (St. Petersburg) State University
Courses Taught: 
  • Russian (all levels)
  • French Literature and Culture on various themes; courses in 19th and 20th centuries 
  • Elementary and Intermediate French  
  • Interdisciplinary Honors courses on various themes, including “It’s About Time,” and “Self-Discovery through Literature and Science” 
Scholarly Interests: 
  • Russian and French Literature of 19th and 20th centuries
  • Foreign Language Pedagogy
  • History of SSJ in 17th century; College History, especially Chestnut Hill; Women's education
  • Fulbright Grant to France, 1967-1968
  • Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, 1975 
  • The American Association of Teachers of French: Dorothy Ludwig Excellence in Teaching Award--Post-Secondary, July 7, 2003 
  • The Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association Educator of the Year Award for 2003 
  • Frank Mulhern Leadership Award, PSMLA, November 2012 
  • LaMarr Kopp Lifetime Achievement Award, PaCIE, October 2016 
  • Palmes Academiquescommandeur(highest rank) from the French Government in recognition of outstanding efforts for the promotion of the study of French, 2019 
  • Nelson H. Brooks Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Foreign Language Profession, Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 2019
  • President, American Association of Teachers of French, 2013-2015 
Selected Publications: 
  • Tradition and Risk: Chestnut Hill College, 1924-1999. (Donning, 1999)
  • Book reviews in The French Review and The NECTFL Review 
  • Articles in L'Amitie Charles Peguy (Paris, France)
  • Articles in Research Guide to Popular Fiction, Research Guide to Biography and Criticism, (Research Publishing), on French and Russian Authors
  • Articles in Critical Survey of Drama, Critical Survey of Poetry, Critical Survey of Long Fiction (Salem Publishing), on French and Russian Authors
  • Articles on Camus, The Plague, and Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, in MLA Approaches on Teaching series
  • Articles in Teilhard Studies and The NECTFL Review