Apegga1c.gif (2007 bytes) The PEGG
April, 1999
Page 5 APEGGA Endorses Action to Control Use Of "Software Engineering" in Newfoundland

APEGGA Council, at a special meeting March 5, backed measures to prevent Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) from offering a "software engineering" degree outside its engineering faculty.

APEGGA’s decision, reached during a special video conference session of Council with councillors present in Calgary and Edmonton, backs up action taken by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE) and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland (APEGN).

APEGN announced on Feb. 25 withdrawal of its consent for an accreditation review to be conducted on the four accredited undergraduate engineering programs now offered by MUN. Such accreditation reviews are carried out through the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) which operates under CCPE’s auspices. Without accreditation, graduates of a program won’t automatically be considered to have met academic qualifications and therefore will face a more arduous process (including possibly examinations) when they approach the APEGN’s Board of Examiners (or its counterparts) to obtain their professional designation.

APEGN decided to withdraw consent for accreditation following months of failed negotiations between the association and MUN which has repeatedly refused to rename the "software engineering" program offered by the university’s Faculty of Computer Science. Since the program is administered outside the MUN Engineering Faculty and does not contain the required engineering content, its graduates will not be able to use the title "engineer" or be licensed to practice engineering.

According to APEGN President Gerry Suek, P.Eng.: "Despite our repeated attempts to resolve the dispute amicably, the administration of MUN has refused all requests to change the name ‘software engineering’. There was no other course open to us in the face of the university’s unwillingness to respond to our legitimate concerns."

A motion passed by APEGGA Council at its special meeting on March 5 states: "That Council fully supports the actions taken by APEGN and CCPE to protect the integrity of the properly accredited engineering programs at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and the legitimate rights of students enrolled in those programs. APEGGA Council urges the University to immediately cease the misuse of the term ‘engineering’ in a degree program being offered by the Computer Science Department that is not an accredited engineering program. The continued misuse of the term ‘engineering’ could be detrimental to the interest of students enrolled in that program, the students enrolled in accredited engineering programs, and the safety and interest of the general public."

APEGGA Council also approved a second motion, subsequently forwarded to the presidents of all institutions that are members of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), as well as the deans of all engineering faculties in Canada. The second motion states: "That APEGGA Council is seriously concerned about the position taken by the AUCC in the dispute with Memorial University over the improper use of the word engineering in the title of a computer science program being offered by Memorial. AUCC’s position is considered to be a deplorable abdication of the responsibility that Universities and Colleges have to protect the public interest and not to mislead the public."

MUN’s Engineering Faculty current accreditation expires June 30. As a result, engineering students in their final year who complete their program prior to that date will have accredited degrees.

In a news release, APEGN Executive Director Allen Steeves, P.Eng., said that MUN is not being asked to change the curriculum of the software program but the name used to describe the program. "We’re simply asking that, for the protection and benefit of the public, the students, and the integrity of the profession of engineering, the University agree to change the name of the program."


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