University, Adobe partnership to bring free Creative Cloud apps for students

by Jeanette Giovanniello, Staff Writer

Graphic designers, photographers and creatives of all sorts can look forward to a new collaboration between San Diego State and Adobe — providing free Adobe Creative Cloud services to all students.

Starting this March, the university will be introducing the Adobe AzTech Alliance, or A3, a program that will promote the use of digital tools on campus.

SDSU is aiming for students’ free access to the services by July, SDSU Chief Information Officer Jerry Sheehan said. The software includes applications such as Photoshop, Premiere, Illustrator and other services for creative endeavors.

Currently, the software is offered to students at a discounted rate of $25 annually, the result of an agreement made between Adobe and California State University schools last September.

SDSU is taking this partnership further with the A3 program, which will focus on a better understanding of digital literacy amongst students. Sheehan announced the new collaboration on Feb. 11 at an Adobe event on campus.

The program will also emphasize faculty engagement through a fellowship program, where they can learn how to use these tools and encourage them further in the classroom.

“In order to make sure that we can get the most use of these tools, we want to make sure that faculty are aware,” Sheehan said.

Aside from embracing digital tools in the classroom, Sheehan said the program will include opportunities for faculty to work on access for “underserved communities, first generation students and indigenous populations” to learn about the software.

According to their website, Adobe describes digital literacy as a way for students to develop problem solving skills, strengthen their leadership abilities and broaden employment opportunities. These skills coincide with the university’s goals to have students thrive during an era of technological growth.

“What is important is how you leverage that designation as a research institution to really have an impact on a segment of the labor force that will transform the region, not only in terms of economic development but also in terms of political strength,” President Adela de la Torre said at the February event, according to Newscenter.

For students like Veronica Casey, the software is essential for a passing grade. As a studio art sophomore, programs such as Adobe Bridge and Adobe Photoshop are required for her courses. Casey said the school discount may not even be the best option for students.

“I found better deals separate from SDSU and chose to purchase that instead,” Casey said. “I don’t think the current discount is enough for students who only need Creative Cloud for one class. I’m glad SDSU sees the importance of having a creative outlet.”

The applications can be used for a variety of purposes, from creating a poster for a club to compiling a research presentation for a conference. The university Information Technologies program hopes A3 will encourage all students to adapt to digital versatility.

“I think all disciplines and all students have the capacity to be creative,” Sheehan said, “Information technology and software tools, particularly those made by Adobe, really lower the barrier to being able to do that without needing to be a technical programmer.”

Students can continue to use the current annual subscription deal before the A3 program becomes available.