Fargo, N.D. – Tri-College University, in collaboration with the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation and Sanford Health, is launching a first-in-the-nation undergraduate academic minor in vaccinology, starting this fall. The addition of an academic minor in vaccinology was driven in part by a study recently completed by the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation. The study showed that a focus on vaccinology could translate into long-term sustainable economic growth for the region.
Tri-College officials believe the minor will attract interest because there are more than 2,500 students currently enrolled in life sciences and health care fields at the Tri-College partnering schools: NDSU, Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead.
"It's a first-in-the-nation, and gives undergraduate students great opportunities to conduct research, interact with industry experts and secure relevant experience through industry internships. It's a win-win for everyone involved," said Tri-College University provost Tim Flakoll. The program is being managed by faculty-based "vaccinology coordinators" from each of the three partnering campuses. Local faculty will teach the courses required for the vaccinology minor and will augment the curriculum with participation from outside industry experts. Class size is expected to be 24 students. The minor will require 21-24 credit hours.
To advance the program, Sanford Health has created a Vaccinology Professorship Endowment of $150,000 to fund the faculty investment. "It's important that public and private partners participate together in solutions for community economic development and education; however, the reach of this program extends far beyond the Fargo region when you consider the significant public health need for vaccinology expertise across our nation," said Sanford Medical Center president Dennis Millirons. "We are inspired to be a part of a program that brings together innovative medical research, growth for our community and unprecedented opportunities for students."
Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation president Kevin McKinnon said, "It is our goal to make Fargo-Moorhead a global destination for vaccinology research by simply plugging in our own quality graduates into an emerging regional industry."
For more information on the vaccinology minor, visit www.tri-college.org