Stephanie Schechner

Stephanie Schechner, PhD, MA

  • Professor of French
Media Expertise:
  • Gender & Sexuality
  • Communications & Marketing
  • Arts & Culture

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, French Literature (1997)
    University of Wisconsin--Madison (WI)
  • MA, French Literature (1991)
    University of Wisconsin--Madison (WI)
  • BA, French and Interdisciplinary Studies (1990)
    Amherst College (MA)

About Me

I believe that studying French should not be an end in itself, but rather a means to connecting with others around the world. Studying language, literature, and culture requires a willingness to grow as both student and instructor seek to understand people from other countries and from other times. The benefits for those who pursue these fields of study are multiple: the ability to communicate in more than one language, a greater understanding of oneself and one's own culture, an appreciation of other ways of thinking, the opportunity to read great literary works, the ability to reflect critically on literature and culture, among others.

At the same time, such study demands that the learner engage in self-examination in a way that is often uncomfortable. One is forced to wonder why one holds certain beliefs, why one speaks in a certain way, and why one's culture functions in the ways that it does. This questioning often leads to unforeseen discoveries for both learner and instructor alike. Students in my classes can expect to increase their fluency in French and to develop a range of skills that will serve them well no matter what career they choose to pursue.

At Home with Humanities

Take a virtual tour of the Humanities Department featuring artwork from our students and published works from our faculty.


Research Interests

My research has focused broadly on French and Francophone women writers. I have explored representations of femininity, female sexuality, and the experimental writing styles of several authors. I have specialized on the French lesbian writer Mireille Best (1943–2005) and am currently working on the translation of her writings. 

In addition, I have published on these 19th- and 20th-century writers: Colette, Nathalie Sarraute, Rachilde, and Jovette Marchessault. I am also interested in issues related to pedagogy and the professional development of language instructors. I have given numerous conference presentations on these topics.

Media Expertise

  • French language, literature and culture
  • Literature and culture of French-speaking countries
  • Teaching foreign languages
  • Teacher training
  • Women's studies: feminist theory, French women writers and artists
  • Language acquisition/study
  • French-speaking countries
  • Higher education faculty development
  • Diversity issues


  • Schechner, Stephanie. "Camille in October" (translation of Camille en octobre by Mireille Best) Seagull Books, 2019.
  • Schechner, Stephanie. "La Lutte contre la normalisation: la representation de l'adolescence lesbienne dans les uvres de Jovette Marchessault et Mireille Best." De l'invisible au visible: l'imaginaire litteraire et artistique de Jovette Marchessault. Eds. Roseanna Dufault and Celita Lamar. Montreal: Les Editions de Remue-Menage, 2012. Print.
  • Schechner, Stephanie. "Shifting Stereotypes? The Representation of Lesbians in French Cinema 1985–2005." New Zealand French Studies (2012): 7–29. Web.
  • Schechner, Stephanie. "Words as Subjects: A Study of the Personification of Language in Three Texts by Nathalie Sarraute." Nottingham French Studies 47.1 (2008): 14–31. Web.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Modern Language Association (MLA), Women in French, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), French American Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia, Guinean Alliance for Education and Development 


  • Fitz Dixon Award for Innovation in Teaching (2020)
  • College of Arts and Sciences Nominee, Outstanding Researcher (2013)
  • Student Life Leadership Award for Excellence in Advising (2011)
  • Faculty Development Grant (2014)


In the Media


  • Professor of French Honored for Teaching Innovation

    Professor of French Stephanie Schechner received the Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. It is given to an individual or group who have designed, implemented and assessed an innovative or experimental teaching and learning project. Schechner knows employers value students who can work cross-culturally, and cultivates and leverages a network of government, nonprofit, corporate, and alumni contacts to enhance student learning and career readiness. Schechner’s efforts have led to a 100 percent employment rate for French majors over the past 20 years, as well as study abroad, internships, mentoring, and career readiness workshops for students. Over the years, French majors have gone on to careers in investment banking, nursing, public health, civil service, insurance, library and information science, high tech, and non-profit fundraising. Schechner’s network includes internal partners in the Schools of Engineering and Business Administration.  External partners have included the French American Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia, the Quebec Trade Office, the University of Laval, the Upper Darby Welcome Center, the City of Philadelphia, and the French government.

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  • Stephanie Schechner Translates Newly Published Book

    Stephanie Schechner, a professor of French, has translated to English the French novel "Camille in October." The novel by Mireille Best focuses on Camille as she struggles to figure out who she is and where she fits in the world of her coastal working-class neighborhood in 1950s France. The book was published by Seagull Books and was the first to make the publisher's Pride List, a series of books by LGBTQ authors. The book was distributed by University of Chicago Press.

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  • Stephanie Schechner Elected to Board of Directors for French American Chamber of Commerce - Philadelphia

    Stephanie Schechner, professor of French, has been elected to join the Board of Directors for the French American Chamber of Commerce - Philadelphia, an organization that fosters a thriving economic relationship between the U.S and France and welcomes and supports French businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals in the region. Directors are elected to serve a two-year term and represent all sectors of the business community.

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