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Who can come to Mentor Centers?

Protégés matched with a TVI and/or COMS mentor through the TSBVI Mentor Program and Texas students currently enrolled in the Texas Tech University or Stephen F. Austin State University VI/O&M programs who do not have a mentor are available to attend a Mentor Center on the TSBVI campus.

Can mentors come without a protégé?

Due to limited space, mentors will no longer be able to attend a Mentor Center

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.

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? 

Mileage to a Mentor Center will not be reimbursed.

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.

What if you make a plane, car, or hotel reservation for me and I cannot come at the last minute? 

You will need to email and call Chrissy Cowan or Melanie Schacht (, 512-206-9389) prior to the Friday before the Mentor Center is scheduled to begin.

Can I fly to the Mentor Center? 

If you live over 225 miles away, you may be available for partial or full flight reimbursement.  In order to be reimbursed, you will be required to get previous approval from Chrissy Cowan, Mentor Coordinator.

Can a family member come with me? 

Please check with Chrissy Cowan () beforehand if you would like to come with a family member.  Children and other guests cannot attend the Mentor Center activities. 

Can I stay at the hotel an extra night? 

If you live more than 250 miles away and you have driven by yourself to a Mentor Center, we can reimburse you for staying Tuesday night only if we have prior notice.

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?  Please Contact: 

Chrissy Cowan, Mentor Coordinator
TSBVI Outreach Department
1100 W. 45th Street
Austin, TX  78756

Phone: 512-206-9367
Fax:  512-206-9320