Tri-College University Announces First-in-Nation Academic Minor in Vaccinology

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A New Minor Means Major Growth for Regional Economy

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 Fall 2011.

The addition of an academic minor in Vaccinology was driven in part by a survey recently completed by the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC). The study showed that a focus on Vaccinology can translate into long-term sustainable economic growth for our region.

This opportunity has significant takeoff power because there are more than 2,500 students currently enrolled in life sciences and health care fields at the Tri-College partnering schools: North Dakota State University, 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 TCU Provost Tim Flakoll. The new program is being managed by faculty-based “Vaccinology Coordinators” from each of the three TCU 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.”

GFMEDC President Devin McKinnon said, “We can make Fargo-Moorhead a global destination for Vaccinology research by simply plugging in our own quality graduates into a emerging regional industry.”

Everything seems to be aligning to not only have a swift start, but also to be a conduit for success. If the program is successful, potential benefits could include increases in the recognition of the region as a destination for quality research, retention rates of graduates in the metro area and growth of academic and economic diversity.


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Sonia Mayo Hohnadel
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