This study draws on foucault’s concept of governmentality to explore mentoring policy discourse in vietnamese higher education. It uses fairclough’s approach to critical discourse analysis to examine the state’s and university’s documents. The findings indicate that the state aspires to maintain its “gaze” by privileging the institution’s policy document as a means of regulating the academics and polarizes the mentors and mentees along the power continuum. A range of linguistic strategies is used to establish the institution’s power and the state’s control has been discursively consolidated. The mentoring policy seems to have a range of flaws but the participants’ voices are not included in the discourse and they are not given opportunities to construct an alternative discourse around their positionality. This suggests that the mentoring policy seeks to frame and regulate the academics but not necessarily to optimise their capacities. The policy is therefore unlikely to create active subjects and mentoring as governmentality in this case may not deliver its productive function. 2019 Walter de gruyter gmbh, berlin/boston 2019.