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Adobe/WSSU partnership seeks to level creative playing field

Dr. Wanda White-Walker patiently answered the questions of a few wide-eyed Winston-Salem State University students with a grin on Wednesday afternoon inside the new WSSU podcast space, sponsored by Adobe.

That moment was the culmination of years of work by Dr. White-Walker, the Director of the Center for Innovative and Transformative Instruction at WSSU, and her staff. The podcast space is a part of the WSSU Multimedia Lab that opened officially on Wednesday. It is the first HBCU to have that distinction. 

“Hearing the students just ask (about using the space) is like…’wow, this is great.’ That makes all the work worthwhile,” Dr. White-Walker told HBCU Gameday. “You know, you write a proposal — you hope you’re going to get, find it, and then you hope the construction is going to happen. But hearing the students say, ‘wow, this is great’ is what it was all about. So it’s exciting to see. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in here.”

The Multimedia Lab is housed on the second floor of the O’Kelly Library at WSSU. The space consists of a podcasting studio with soundproof walls, a state-of-the-art video studio with an editing bay in the center of it. All are fully-loaded with Adobe software for the use of students, faculty, staff and alumni. 

This is the second time WSSU has made history with software giant Adobe. Dr. White-Walker applied for a grant back in 2018 and the rest is history. 

“We are the first HBCU as an Adobe Creative campus,” she said with a smile. “Of course, many of the PWIs do have lab spaces like this and there are many other a PWI is where who are Adobe creative campuses. We became the first in 2018, but there are five HBCUs now.”

But what prompted WSSU to take the next step? CITI took a visit to Clemson University and the wheels started turning. 

“We saw what creative campuses look like, and that’s when we began the process to become one,” Dr. White-Waker said. “which simply means all of our faculty, staff and students have free access to Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, which is very important because it’s a very expensive program that students get for free.”

In a world where the lack of facilities is often used as a strike against HBCUs, Dr. White-Walker believes that getting this facility can be a game-changer for WSSU. 

“I feel like this there’s no D1, D2, D3 and digital literacy,” she said. “We’ve just leveled the playing field for our students. Now they can get the same skills that Stanford and UCLA, Clemson, Duke get in this space. They now have the tools to walk out as graduates and do whatever they want with their careers.”

Adobe/WSSU partnership seeks to level creative playing field

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