Negotiations continuing for UConn-Adobe contract

The University of Connecticut's contract with Adobe Creative Cloud suite is due to expire on May 31. UConn is continuing to negotiate with Adobe to prevent students from losing access. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut's contract with Adobe Creative Cloud suite is due to expire on May 31. UConn is continuing to negotiate with Adobe to prevent students from losing access. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut is continuing to negotiate with Adobe to prevent students from losing access to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite when the university’s current contract with Adobe expires on May 31.

Michael Mundrane, UConn’s vice provost for information technology and chief information officer, said the university has not yet reached a new agreement with Adobe.

“The current agreement at its current price point is ending,” Mundrane said. “We do not have a successor agreement at this date that we would pursue.”  

“We would be remiss if we did not notify stakeholders that should nothing change, the agreement with Adobe will end and, with it, their ability to license the product via the existing mechanism,” Mundrane said.

To help prepare for the end of the current agreement, Mundrane said he has looked into improving the library’s computers so students will be able to work on projects there.

“I have approved a major investment to update the hardware in the library so that workstations there will have significantly better performance,” Mundrane said. “We will install Creative Cloud on all of those devices.”

Adobe remains open to continuing negotiations to extend the contract.

“There’s clearly interest on campus, and we are continuing to talk to the university in good faith,” said Stephen Hart, one of Adobe’s senior customer success managers.

While some schools have purchased full access to Adobe products, Hart said, there are different agreements that can be pursued because “Adobe (isn’t) one size fits all.”

“There’s some schools that have decided that it’s important for them to supply their entire student body, faculty and staff with our solutions,” Hart said.

He said many other schools offer some level of access, like UConn’s current agreement does.

“The bottom line is (the students) have to have access,” UConn journalism department head Maureen Croteau said. “And we’re going to make sure that happens. That’s not an ‘if.’”

Croteau said the journalism department has met with UITS as well as representatives from Adobe. She explained the software is important to students as it is an industry standard, she said, and added that UITS is aware of how important the software is to students, and is working to find a solution.

“What we’re looking at is what we need in terms of software and what is reasonable in terms of price for the university to supply,” Croteau said.

“We’re going to have lots of ideas and lots of proposals before we come up with a solution to this,” Croteau added.

The end of the current contract will affect students in several different majors and programs.

Hart said being able to tell a story well through digital means is very important in many disciplines, such as engineering and physics.

“The professional industry in all of those disciplines and others are actively hiring people who are more effective storytellers and more effective users of technologies to do that,” Hart said.

Parker Sorenson, a graduate student in civil engineering and a teaching assistant, said Adobe Acrobat Pro is critical for him to have when creating weekly lab manuals for the CAD course he teaches. He said it is necessary for teaching assistants to be able to do their jobs.

Sorenson said he has also used Adobe Premiere Pro to create a video for one of his engineering courses that went on to be nationally recognized at a film festival.

“I don’t think that would be something that could’ve been professionally done if I didn’t have access to (Adobe),” Sorenson said.

He said he spent hours making the film and if he only had access to the software on a shared computer, he probably would not have been able to make a video of that quality. He said engineers also rely on Adobe products, like Photoshop, when making street designs and mockups.  

“It just gave me resources for productivity and creativity (for) my academic and professional career here as a teaching assistant,” he said.

Elvis Methoxha, a second-semester graduate student in accounting, said he hadn’t downloaded the Adobe suite on his computer yet, but had been looking forward to it.  He has a small business where he flips and sells homes, which he does his own photography for.

“I go into Photoshop and put in my own brand name, I edit them, I make sure they’re all edited (perfectly) for the public before it’s listed on the market,” Methoxha said.

If a new agreement isn’t reached, he said he realizes he will have to purchase it on his own.

“For some, it might not be that much, but for most of us it is, especially those of us who are paying out of pocket,” he said.


Amanda Cabral is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at amanda.cabral@uconn.edu