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Mentor Center FAQs


Who can come to Mentor Centers?

University students currently working on VI or O&M certification, VI professionals currently assigned a mentor through the TSBVI Mentor Program and mentors accompanying protégés. 


Can mentors come without a protégé?



Can a protégé come without their mentor?

Yes.  Mentor attendance is not a requirement.


Can students in the TTU/SFA program come before they are assigned a mentor?

Yes, but only once.  You can come to a second Mentor Center when you are hired in a VI or O&M position.     


How often can a student or protégé come to a Mentor Center?

You can come to a maximum of 2 Mentor Centers.  TTU/SFA students who do not hold a VI position can come only once, then once again when you are hired as a COMS or TVI. 

How often can a mentor come to a Mentor Center?

One time per school year with a protégé, pending available space.   

What are the hotel room arrangements?

TSBVI will reserve your room and pay the hotel through a direct billing process. We do not reimburse incidentals such as phone use, room service, and/or movies.  Do NOT contact the hotel yourself.  We get special rates and will need to make the reservation for you. 


Is my mileage reimbursed?

We cannot reimburse your mileage. 


Can my district be reimbursed for a substitute?

Yes.  You will get the form for this once you are at the Mentor Center.


Do I need to attend all 3 days? 

Yes.   The scheduling process on Sunday evening is also required. If you cannot come on Sunday, you will need to withdraw your Mentor Center registration and come at another time. 


If I have a student attending TSBVI, is it all right if I observe the student while I’m there?

Yes, but you will need to find out your student’s schedule before coming, and email TSBVI teachers ahead of time to ask if you may observe.  You must limit your student observation to 1 hour so that you can participate in all of the Mentor Center activities. 



Can I stay at a friend’s/relative’s house instead of the hotel?

That is great—as long as you can be at TSBVI by 7:30 a.m. on both Monday and Tuesday.  



Can I fly to the Mentor Center?

If you live over 250 miles away and want to fly to Austin, we can reimburse you up to $150.00. Written prior approval from Chrissy Cowan is required for this reimbursement.  You will be responsible for making your own flight reservation.  Plan to arrive by 5:00 p.m. on the Sunday, and leave no earlier than 3:00 p.m. on the Tuesday.


Can a family member come with me?

Please check with Chrissy Cowan () beforehand if you would like to come with a family member.  If you fly together, we will reimburse your ticket only.  Children and other guests cannot attend the Mentor Center activities. 



What if I have dietary restrictions?

We serve food on Sunday evening and Monday/Tuesday lunch.  You will have the opportunity to note your dietary restrictions on a travel preferences form.  If you notify us well in advance we will make efforts to accommodate dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, and/or a preference for a vegetarian meal. We will not be able to “fine tune” food orders beyond this. Individuals with significant and/or life-threatening food allergies should plan to provide their own food.    


Questions?  Contact:


Chrissy Cowan, Mentor Coordinator

TSBVI Outreach Department

1100 W. 45th Street

Austin, TX  78756

Phone: 512-206-9367

Fax:  512-206-9320