Contact Our Advisor


Current KU students are welcome to meet by videoconference, over-the-phone, and in-person with our department's academic advisor (Zac Shields) regardless of their year in school or admission status to the Department of Design.

Students who are not yet admitted to KU who have an interest in Design should contact April Czarnetzki, the Outreach Coordinator for the School of Architecture & Design, at!


What's the best way for me to contact Zac?


The best way to reach out depends on what you need! An appointment is required to discuss any of the following:

  • Next-Semester Enrollment (See information below about Enrollment Advising)
  • Your Graduation Plan (See information below about Graduation Plans)
  • Probation Action Plans (30-minute appointment)
  • Financial Aid (SAP) Appeals (60-minute appointment)

For other questions, including follow-up questions after an initial enrollment advising meeting, Zac is available by appointment or during his virtual drop-in hours. Zac is also happy to help via email, though the real-time nature of an appointment or meeting during drop-in hours can often be ideal!

Please note that Zac is generally available to meet between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Kansas time (CDT/CST) Monday through Friday.

Appointments with Zac are Zoom meetings by default, but he's happy to meet by phone or in-person upon request!

If a student has a phone appointment, the student will need to call Zac at the time of their appointment.

Masks are required for in-person appointments. Students will need to wear a mask when they check in for their appointment, as well as throughout their appointment.

All students recieve a confirmation email when they schedule their appointment with Zac which includes his appointment Zoom link, phone number, and instructions to check in at Marvin Hall 200 if they have an in-person appointment.


Zac's Office: Marvin Hall Room 200

Zac's Email:

Zac's Phone: 785-864-2959


How can I set up an appointment?

Current Design students should schedule an appointment through JayhawkGPS. That is often the fastest and most convenient way to schedule an appointment. Send Zac an email if you have trouble scheduling an appointment online!

Zac is generally available for appointments between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Kansas time (CDT/CST) Monday through Friday each week.

If scheduling an appointment through JayhawkGPS is not an option, please email Zac and provide the following information:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your current academic status (e.g. at KU, transferring from another institution, incoming freshman)
  • What you'd like to discuss
  • A few days and general times in the next two weeks during which you will be available to meet (e.g. Tuesdays after 2 p.m.)


When are Zac's virtual drop-in hours?

During the fall and spring semesters, Zac is normally available on a drop-in basis via Zoom from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Monday through Thursday as well as from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. each Friday. His availability is listed according to the Central (Kansas) time zone.

Zac's holding virtual drop-in hours from 8:00a-12:30p and 1:30-5:00p Tuesday through Thursday for the week of 1/18-1/21! Any questions are fair game during those hours, and anyone is welcome to drop in.

Zac includes links to his virtual drop-in Zoom rooms in each Monday's "Design Advising Updates/Reminders" email to all undergraduate students admitted to majors in the Department of Design. The times and links are also included in his email account's auto-reply!

Students can visit virtual drop-in hours about any of the following:
  • Current-semester issues/enrollment adjustments (e.g. dropping, swapping, or adding a class)
  • Policies and procedures for the Department of Design, School of Architecture & Design, and the University of Kansas
  • Studying Abroad
  • Internships
  • Approval for study abroad credit
  • Enrollment follow-up questions (after an initial Enrollment Advising appointment)
  • Any other questions that aren't listed below as requiring an appointment

An appointment is required for either of the following:

  • Initial enrollment advising (e.g. spring 2021 enrollment planning)
  • Financial aid (SAP) appeals

Due to his various responsibilities, Zac may need to temporarily cancel a portion of his virtual drop-in hours. In that case, he will post a notice in bold red font on this page. He also lists his virtual drop-in hours in his advising update emails to undergraduate Design students each Monday during the fall and spring semesters.


Enrollment Advising

Each Design student is required to meet with Zac or a faculty advisor at least once per semester to ensure that they are on track to graduate and are properly enrolled for the next semester. Most students will meet with an advisor after the next semester's Schedule of Classes is published at, which generally coincides with the beginning of October in each fall semester and the beginning of March in each spring semester.

During this busy time, referred to as "Main Enrollment" by advisors and lasting approximately two months, students needing to make a plan for next semester enrollment are welcome to schedule a meeting with Zac through JayhawkGPS and/or meet with a faculty advisor in their area of study. Zac's response time to emails and unscheduled phone calls may be delayed during Main Enrollment.

The vast majority of enrollment advising is done through appointments with Zac. That said, faculty advising remains available to students on an ad hoc basis if they would prefer to advise with a faculty member. If you would like to arrange an advising meeting with a faculty member, please contact the Program Director for your concentration in Design:

Illustration & Animation: Barry Fitzgerald

Industrial Design: Betsy Barnhart

Photography: Mike Sinclair

Visual Communication Design: Jeremy Shellhorn



Graduation Plans

Each student preparing to enter the third year of the Design program will recieve a graduation plan from Zac that outlines all of the requirements remaining for their degree. This graduation plan is flexible in consultation with Zac, and serves as a guide for enrollment conversations in the student's final two years.

Each transfer student and Change of School student admitted to the Department of Design will recieve a graduation plan shortly after their admission to Design. This plan is flexible in consulation with Zac, and gives students a clear outline of their track to graduation.

Each student who declares a second major in addition to Design can request a graduation plan which outlines the remaining requirements of their Design degree as well as the remaining requirements of their second major. To make such a plan, Zac will consult with the academic advisor affiliated with the student's second major.

If you would like to request a graduation plan, please email Zac and include the following information:

  • Any additional major(s) you are considering
  • Any minor(s) and/or certification(s) you are considering
  • Any specific restrictions that apply to you
    • For instance, minimum hour requirements for scholarships and other financial aid
  • Any special requests regarding your enrollment plan
    • For instance, whether or not you'd like to take summer classes and if you would prefer to maintain a reduced courseload each semester

Please note that graduation plans can take a substantial amount of time and care to accurately produce. Because of this, you may experience a delay between your request for a graduation plan and the fulfillment of that request.