Athena’s Advice and Academia: Mentoring and the Marginalized

By Sandra M. Grayson.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 31, 2016 $US5.00

The word “mentor” derives from Greek mythology. In "The Odyssey," prior to sailing to Troy, Odysseus had “committed his household” to his friend Mentor. Athena, disguised first as Mentes then as Mentor, is the wise advisor in "The Odyssey." While tradition suggests that mentoring happens naturally, research indicates that “natural” mentoring only happens with about one-third of tenure-track faculty, with minorities and women being the least likely to receive mentoring and most likely to feel they do not receive enough support and guidance. In addition, the morale of black faculty is often undermined in ways “not experienced, and seldom understood, by their white colleagues.” This article analyzes the ways that Athena’s advice in The Odyssey can be applied to marginalized black tenure-track faculty members at predominately white universities in the United States.

Keywords: Athena’s Advice, Academia, Black Assistant Professors, Mentoring, Universities in the United States

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.11-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 31, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 487.562KB)).

Dr. Sandra M. Grayson

Professor, Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA