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Keystone Project & Supervision



Keystone Project

Keystone-“the wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place”-Marriam-Webster Dictionary

Prerequisite: Completion of module(s) related to VSW content area(s) highlighted by project

To earn the Veterinary Social Work Certificate, participants must complete a keystone project that requires at least 250 hours of service learning. This piece of the VSW-CP requires participants to take their new knowledge and turn it into action.  The keystone component is flexible and is designed to help participants develop relationships and begin the process of making their professional goals come into being.  Keystone projects can be completed at the participant’s current place of employment or in a volunteer setting, even if not in an animal setting.
When writing your proposal, please include
  • the overall mission of the facility where the project will take place
  • a veterinarian who will be consulting on the project
    • if you are a veterinarian, please have a licensed MSW consult
  • a contact person at the facility if the consulting veterinarian is not on-site
  • the veterinary social work content area(s) your project will highlight
    • please be sure to complete the online module(s) your project highlights before submitting your proposal
  • the measurable objectives of the project and how you will track the project’s efficacy

Click here for an example of an approved Keystone Project Proposal. See below for frequently asked questions.

To submit your keystone project proposal click here.

Keystone Project Letter of Completion

When you have completed at least 250 hours of service learning you will submit a letter of completion and create a final Keystone Presentation. In the letter of completion, please include

  • date
  • hours completed
  • summary of service learning activities
  • consulting veterinarians signature
  • your signature

Keystone Presentation

After completing the keystone project, participants will create a 5-minute presentation that will be delivered at the VSW Oath Ceremony, which is the same week at the International VSW Summit. Participants who joined the certificate program before February 2017 are not required to attend the international VSW Summit and can complete the presentation at home. By completing this piece of the certificate participants have the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in Veterinary Social Work. Similar to a physical keystone, this piece of the project brings together all components and locks the pieces in place. Refer to the bottom of the page for frequently asked questions. 


  • Presentations will consist of five slides
  • Each slide will be set to automatically transition after one minute


  • Where the Keystone Project was completed and how you got your foot in the door
  • Area of VSW that the project focused on and goals of the project
  • Barriers that arose and how those barriers were overcome
  • Most rewarding experience
  • Results of Keystone Project


All participants will attend 8 online supervision sessions in order to earn the Veterinary Social Work Certificate. Each 2-hour session will be held via Zoom video conference. The 4 VSW topic areas will have 2 supervision sessions dedicated to the topic that are designed to provide discussion and allow for supervisory questions to be answered.  VSW faculty and staff will be in attendance for these sessions as well as topic experts. There will be discussion boards and homework throughout the supervision period.

Participants may choose to attend supervision before submitting their keystone proposals in order to discuss their options with their peer participants. Participants are encouraged, however, to complete some supervision sessions while actively engaged in their Keystone Project.

Supervision begins in January and ends in March of each year. Times of supervision sessions vary to accommodate the schedule needs of our participants. For questions about supervision, please email

Supervision sessions are held via Zoom videoconference.  Click here to create a free Zoom account.

The schedule for January-March Supervision will be posted in November. See below for frequently asked questions.

For questions about supervision, please email

Registration for supervision will be available November 2018


How do I record and track my hours for the keystone project?

You may track your hours in a way that is easiest for you. We do not require participants to submit their time sheets. All that we require is the letter of completion outlines above.

Can I complete my keystone project at my place of work?

Yes! You may complete it at work. You may also complete it in a volunteer setting.

How long do I have to complete my keystone project?

You have 5 years to complete the entire VSW-CP. You have until the end of your 5 years to complete the keystone project.

Do you provide locations for Keystone Projects?

Veterinary social work is still growing, and spreading the word is an important part of earning the certificate. While we do not match participants with service learning projects, we’re happy to help you create your proposal. Many of our participants are able to design VSW projects at their current jobs!

Do I need to complete supervision before I attend the AAI Workshop and VSW Intensive?

Yes. You need to complete the AAI supervision sessions to attend the AAI Workshop. You need to complete all other sessions to attend the VSW Intensive.

How do I record my presentation if I applied before February 2017?

You may record your presentation using an application or software that you are comfortable with. One way to you can record it is to create a PowerPoint presentation and add audio to each slide. You can record the presentation using PowerPoint “record slideshow” feature under the “slideshow” tab.

Do I need to complete all 8 supervision session in one year?

No. If you want to spread out supervision that is okay. Each VSW topic area has 2 sessions dedicated to it. As long as you complete the 2 session per topic in the same year then you can spread out the other topics.

When is group supervision offered?

Supervision sessions will occur between January and March each year. Each session will be two hours long. Each content area will have two sessions. Generally the sessions will occur between 10:00 am 12:00 pm ET on Mondays. This, however, is subject to change based on the availability of participants and subject area experts. A supervision schedule will be posted November 1st each year.

Veterinary Social Work

UT College of Veterinary Medicine
UT College of Social Work
Helpline: 865-755-8839
VSW Services:
Education and Events: 865-696-1117
Education and Events:

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