Telemachus and Mentor In Greek mythology, Mentor was the teacher and guide of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus. “Mentor” actually was Athena, the goddess of wisdom, in disguise. The archetype of a mentor, then, is one of benevolent, guiding wisdom.

A mentor, in relation to a mentee, is a person of higher ranking within an organization or profession, with greater experience or knowledge and a commitment to supporting the development of a mentee’s career.

A mentor serves as a role model who offers acceptance, confirmation, protection, and even friendship to the mentee. A mentor listens, observes, asks, counsels, coaches, challenges, and sponsors the mentee.

(Image: Telemachus and Mentor by Pablo E. Fabisch, from Les Adventures de Telemaque [1699])

Among the advantages of a mentor relationship for the mentee are the following:

The benefits for mentors include the following:

Universities benefits experienced by the mentee and mentor:

Effective mentors promote an interdependent relationship with their mentees that involves a developmental perspective. That is, effective mentors assume a position of respect and patience, guide rather than tell, model learning by learning from the mentee, and provide challenges that stretch the capacity of the mentee. The mentor does all this by listening, reflecting on experiences, asking questions, encouraging a sense of ownership, gently challenging, and affirming the experience of the mentee.

Effective mentees learn to observe with a minimum of bias; to communicate and listen effectively; to increase in self-knowledge about strengths, needs, learning styles, weaknesses, and “blind spots”; to be open to feedback rather than defensive, and to maintain an interdependent rather than a dependent or autonomous relationship with their mentor.

Effective mentoring occurs in an environment of confidentiality in which both mentee and mentor can be candid and self-revealing to each other without fearing for the publication of the content of their conversations. Effective mentoring is devoid of summary judgments and evaluations about personality and character. Instead, mentoring focuses on skills and personal qualities effective for career success. Although it shares some features with therapy, mentoring is not a form of therapy per se and should not be used to address problems of adjustment or personality integration.



What mentors like about FMP:

Hearing about academic life in a different department.

Sharing teaching ideas.

The nice rapport built between us—it’s a great source of enjoyment.

The opportunity to exchange ideas with an enthusiastic young scholar.

Staying involved at personal and professional levels with concerns of junior faculty outside my department and college.

Getting to know a young faculty member, offering advice, and experiencing genuine enthusiasm for "doing good works."

It’s just nice to get to know a young faculty member from outside my college, and feel that I’m helping, in some small way, to make Marquette a better experience for her.

“My mentor is a great listener, and because she is from another college, she has a viewpoint that is unique from other
senior faculty I know. I also really appreciate
the confidentiality of our conversations.”