October 2001

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Editor's Note: Following is a report on the most recent APEGGA Council meeting, held Sept. 14 in the D. A. Lindberg Conference Centre in APEGGA's Edmonton offices. Council and the APEGGA Executive Committee meet five times a year, in Edmonton, Calgary and one of the other branch communities.

Usually the fall meeting is the one hosted by one of the smaller branches. However, this year's Grande Prairie meeting had to be moved back to Edmonton because of flight restrictions in the wake of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. Council has decided that the fall 2002 meeting will be held in Grande Prairie, to make up for this year's last-minute change.

The next Council meeting is Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Westin Hotel in Calgary. The open portion of the meeting begins immediately after a brief 8:30 a.m. in-camera session. Meetings typically continue until mid- or late-afternoon. Professional members may attend as observers, but are required to give advance notice of their attendance to APEGGA's executive director.

University Association Steps Back
From Software Engineering Proposal

Several universities now have software engineering programs in place that are accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board, and others are expected to follow when their first classes graduate. Yet talks to bring a mutually agreed upon end to academia's use of the term "engineering" for unaccredited computer programs have reached an impasse, APEGGA Council heard.

Fred Otto, P.Eng., Alberta's director on the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, said that negotiations with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada stalled last June over the wording of proposed criteria and procedures. AUCC President Robert J. Giroux said in a letter to the CCPE that under "academic freedom and institutional autonomy," any cooperation by universities must be voluntary.

At least five national bodies have a direct interest in the outcome: the CCPE (and its constituent associations); the AUCC; two accreditation bodies, the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board and the Computer Science Accreditation Board; and the Canadian Information Processing Society.

A panel recommended the creation of a joint accreditation board reflecting the interests of both existing boards. It would be called the Software Engineering Accreditation Board.
When the engineering board put its changes into draft criteria and procedures, the AUCC reaction came. By making changes, the board acted without consultation with the computer science community, AUCC's Mr. Giroux said in his letter.

APEGGA Council noted that pressure could be applied through provincial governments, which created the laws for use of the word "engineering" -- and also fund universities. One problem is that the law technically isn't broken until students graduate from unaccredited programs and start calling themselves engineers.

All the software engineering news isn't bad. The engineering accreditation board granted accreditation earlier this year to programs offered by McMaster University, the University of Ottawa and the University of Western Ontario (The PEGG, July 2001). In Alberta, University of Calgary software engineering students have yet to graduate, so the board hasn't considered the program's accreditation yet. And at the University of Alberta, software engineering is part of the computer engineering program.

For a full story on CCPE's position, see the column by Marie Lemay, P.Eng., the CCPE's chief executive officer, on Page 10 of this month's PEGG.

Task Force Given Direction
In Evaluating APEGGA Advocacy

The key to APEGGA advocacy lies within communications and the opinions of APEGGA members and the public, a Council task force says. Council passed two motions, one of which affirms that APEGGA's advocacy role does not diminish its regulatory role. The second motion requests that the Advocacy Task Force "explore the ways and means to evaluate programs currently in place to meet the objectives of communicating with members, governments, business and the general public, and report back with a proposal for further action."

At a strategy session earlier this year, Council, the Executive Committee and staff concluded that advocacy is a part of APEGGA's role and does not conflict with its primary responsibilities of administering the EGGP Act and protecting the public.

Business Plan Wins Kudos

A new style of business plan that grounds APEGGA's goals with results, strategies and measurements earned the favor of Council as a succinct and readable document. Seven key goals are set out in the business plan, described here in brief form:

1. Meet the obligations of the EGGP Act;
2. Assure quality of professionals;
3. Ensure compliance with the EGGP Act, targeting 100 per cent compliance;
4. Maintain positive relations with government and business;
5. Meet national objectives through the CCPE and the CCPG;
6. Be an advocate for the professions;
7. Develop and maintain programs that enhance the value of science and technology.

Mentoring Receives $10,000

A new Calgary branch mentoring program has received a $10,000 nod from APEGGA Council. A business plan for the mentoring program is under review and criteria for consultant selection have been established.

So far, the program has $12,000 in corporate commitment. One of the jobs of the consultant, when one is hired, will be to raise more corporate money.

A full story on the mentoring program appears on page 5 of this month's PEGG. (click here)

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