Butler Community College is now the only institution in Kansas to be an Adobe Creative Campus and only the 50th institution in world.
Vice President of Academics, Tom Nevill was one of the many people at Butler who made this opportunity for all students and staff a reality.
“Butler has a long history of being innovative,” Nevill said. “You are not around for almost 100 years if you are not innovative and change with the needs of your community that you serve. This is part of that initiative of being a college that’s focused on being an innovator and a differentiator. Being the first college in Kansas to be able to bring this opportunity to our students gives us a little bit of leverage with our students that we attract in the area that would see Butler is doing something different with Adobe that maybe other schools aren’t doing.”
As an Adobe Creative Campus, all students and staff now have access to many different programs used for photography, video, design, web and social media for no charge, some of which are already required and used in courses offered at Butler. This will make it possible for the students in those courses not to have to pay the cost of the annual subscription rate.
“We are saving students that are taking classes that require these Adobe resources as part of its curriculum,” Nevill said. “Historically, they have been having to pay for that, and it’s expensive. We are offsetting those students, so they aren’t having to pay that cost anymore and as a result of shifting our licensing agreement with Adobe we are now able to give that access to all of our students.”
This new opportunity leads to many other benefits including helping our students be prepared for whatever they decide to do after leaving Butler and giving them the tools necessary to be successful in that life.
“Adobe and Butler Community College are committed to providing students of all majors with the tools that are foundational to building their creative skill sets, and ultimately becoming digitally literate,” Todd Taylor, Pedagogical Evangelist for Adobe said in Snedden’s newsletter. “Greater access to Adobe Creative Cloud enables Butler to expand its innovative teaching practices and seamlessly nurture creative problem solving among students to ensure that they are prepared both inside and outside of the classroom.”
As a previous partner with Adobe while he was a Dean of Arts and Digital Media at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas, Nevill knows that Butler having access to all of this technology is what is going to give students a competitive advantage when it comes to the workforce after school.
“I think it’s an opportunity for our current students and future students to engage in digital literacy,” Nevill said. “In today’s digital world, everything we do has digital touch, and I think it’s very important for students to be comfortable in the digital arena because as they move out of college and whether they are transferring or going into the workforce, it’s very important that we prepare them for that environment to the best of our abilities.”
As an institution, Butler has been working to create an environment that will attract students who are interested in the future of the workforce and economy. The tech industry in growing metropolitan areas is quickly increasing. Companies within the industry are searching for those who have skills with different social media marketing skills such as Photoshop. Butler wants to help build this upcoming economy in the area by providing an education that teaches students those skills and prepares them for the future in a digital world.
“It’s a great talking point for us because it keeps us fresh in our ideas and our innovation,” Nevill said. “As we create that culture of change and innovation, we are able to give confidence not only to our students, but our faculty, staff and community as well that students come to Butler because we are going to help them be successful and current in what is happening in the workforce and the industry that we serve.”
Butler currently offers different levels of certification for Adobe. There is a total of eight different courses students can take to complete these certifications. By completing the first four classes, one can complete the level one Adobe certification. If they wish to complete the level two certification, they must take the other four classes offered that are software specific.
The Adobe Creative Campus program includes higher education institutions that are interested and find value in having their students be digitally literate. Butler hopes this program will help staff and faculty members expand their knowledge of these platforms that they will in turn teach their students. Adobe will help create different options for students who are unable to come to campus everyday or are only available in the evening. Partnering with Adobe will allow students to have greater access to skills and platforms that will enhance their learning even if they are not on the main campus every day. The goal is to help increase the use of these creative tools among all students no matter what their major or desired career.
The next step to ensuring that Butler is staying up to date with the technological abilities provided by other institutions is bringing about other initiatives that the school is already working towards. There is work being done to make it possible for students to have the option of receiving a laptop while taking classes. For those wanting to enroll in classes from another country without having to come all the way to Butler to do it, the direct enroll initiative is being looked at. The other area of improvement that will help Butler students is making available classes known as high flex courses.
“We have been working to grow our high flex courses,” Nevill said. “These are classes that are connected through technology. If you are in a remote area of our service and you can’t travel to El Dorado, Andover, the air base or one of the other locations where we offer courses, you can join in through technology in real time and be a part of that class. That’s going to help our students that are in those remote areas who maybe have limited ability to travel to be a part of belonging here at Butler.”
CreativeFEST was held on Wednesday, Nov. 1 in Andover to celebrate Butler Community College becoming the first Adobe Creative Campus in Kansas. At this event there were Adobe consultants who Zoomed in and instructed attendees on how to use various applications such as Adobe Rush live. The El Dorado campus will hold their own CreativeFEST in January for students and college employees to learn more about the applications and what they can do with them.
“Creativity is the future,” Nevill said. “We need to shift the mindset of being consumers of content to creators, and this is how we are enabling that.”