Software engineering lawsuit discontinued

Constructive development

(October 7, 1999, Gazette)

The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland have discontinued their lawsuit regarding the use of the term "software engineering" against Memorial University.

The CCPE has reached an agreement with the university and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Under the terms of the agreement, an independent panel willbe established to make non-binding recommendations on the appropriate use of the term "software engineering" by Canadian universities. Once the panel delivers its report, AUCC and CCPE have pledged to use their best efforts to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution.

"This is a very constructive development," said Dr. Axel Meisen, Memorial's president. "It confirms Memorial's right to establish its academic programs and priorities and it provides a mechanism through which this complex issue can be discussed. I am confident that workable national protocols can be developed to guide the future evolution of software engineering as a field of study."

All litigation against Memorial University of Newfoundland over its use of the term "software engineering" will cease. As well, the CCPE has agreed not to commence litigation against any AUCC member university, in respect of its official marks engineer, engineering, ingénieur, ingénierie or génie for a period of five years after the tabling of the panel's report.

Memorial University will abandon the official mark on the term "software engineering" which it obtained in 1997. For its part, AUCC will recommend to its member universities that they take immediate steps to ensure that students are not confused by the use of the term "software engineering" to describe undergraduate level programs or specializations offered outside of an engineering faculty.

The four-member panel to be established under the agreement will consist of representatives of science academia, engineering academia, the engineering profession and the information processing profession. In addition, an impartial chair with extensive involvement in university affairs will be appointed jointly by CCPE and AUCC. The panel will deliver a consensus-based report within one year.