From Advising to Mentoring: Shifting the Metaphor


  • Annette Holba Plymouth State University



advising, mentoring, metaphor


Institutions of higher education should reconsider and reposition academic advising as mentoring. By shifting the metaphor from advising to mentoring, we discover how to better help our students develop the skills they need to be successful in their public and private domains. This essay considers the meaning of "mentor," from its origins in philosophical thought to practical applications in contemporary experience, and identifies selected literature on academic advising pertinent to making this linguistic shift. By revisiting the rhetorical education of Isocrates (436–338 BCE) and the philosophy of John of Salisbury (Johannes Parvus, 1120–1180 CE), this essay invites us to think about our holistic responsibility to our students and how mentoring can serve in this responsibility.

Author Biography

Annette Holba, Plymouth State University

Annette M. Holba is an associate professor of rhetoric at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. She can be reached at


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