News in brief

Queen’s balances the budget

The University recently announced it will be introducing a new budget model next year.

According to the 2012-13 Budget Report, the new model will aim to provide “greater transparency, predictability and a financial structure that encourages and rewards innovation, revenue growth and efficiency.”

The 2012-13 budget, approved by the Board of Trustees in May, is projected to be balanced for the first time since 2008-09. This is due to the drawdown of reserves - depleting funds from cash reserves - and is the result of an extensive planning process according to the report.

The Budget Report states that the new model will be necessary to prevent future deficits. Planning and development of the model is “well underway in consultation with the academic and shared service units across campus,” according to the report.

“Maintaining a balanced budget in future years will become extremely challenging, but it would be even more challenging were it not for the proposed new budget model,” Provost and vice-principal of academics Alan Harrison announced earlier this month.

The proposed model would direct “funds generated by faculties and schools directly to them” with a goal of making the budget better aligned with academic goals.

The new model is expected to come into effect on May 1, 2013, with discussion and planning continuing over the coming months.

The most notable budgetary difficulty the University is currently facing is the pension plan deficit, according to the budget report. Changes have been made to the plan to make it more sustainable in the future.

— Holly Tousignant

Radio conference hosted by CFRC

Kingston welcomed 150 delegates from across Canada to the National Campus and Community Radio Conference (NCRC) from June 12 to 17.

The conference aims to facilitate networking and the exchange of initiatives among campus and community radio stations. It was the first year Queen’s held the conference.

Hosted by CFRC, Queen’s campus radio station, this year’s NCRC event featured the first ever Equity in Radio Conference. Held on June 16, special events included the Kingston Pride Parade and workshops on Feminist Programming and Indigenous Broadcasters in campus and community radio.

The rest of the week’s workshops ranged from Writing for Radio, to Ads and Sponsorship, to Palestinian Solidarity Programming. Also included in conference programming was a special session exploring coverage of the student protests in Quebec.

— Brenna Owen

Student discovers rare galaxy

Karen Lee-Waddell, an Engineering Physics and Astronomy PhD student at Queen’s, has discovered what appears to be a rare tidal dwarf galaxy (TDG) located 74 million light years away from Earth.

Only a handful of TDGs are actually confirmed, while another 20 galaxies are suspected TDGs.

The discovery provides new insight into how the galaxies form and evolve.

“[TDS are] second-generation galaxies that form when other galaxies interact,” Lee-Waddell told the via email.

In other words, a smaller galaxy is formed when galactic material is pulled away from its parent galaxies.

Lee-Waddell discovered this particular galaxy using data collected from radio telescopes in Puerto Rico and India.

Among other characteristics, the galaxy is self-gravitating, meaning it produces enough gravity to hold itself together, with a mass about 300 times that of the sun.

Lee-Waddell’s research is part of a larger program, jointly conducted by researchers at Queen’s and the Royal Military College, aimed at understanding how galaxies are shaped.

— Brenna Owen

The Sleepless Goat raises funds

The Sleepless Goat Café and Workers Cooperative recently raised over $5,000 towards repairs and improvements.

The Café faced financial difficulties last year which threatened their future, the reported in Nov. 2011.

“We are in a financial bind due to a myriad of factors, including but not exclusively, increased competition in the area, the general economic recession, and a growing trend of university students staying on campus,” Neale Aziz, a member of the cooperative, told the via email.

The Goat has been at 91 Princess St. since 1993.

Fundraising initiatives such as May and June’s 30- day revitalization campaign, which surpassed its goal of $5,000, have provided the finances necessary to make repairs within the café and purchase new equipment. The campaign was conducted on Indiegogo, an online fundraising platform.

“We will be repairing the sign outside of the cafe, as well as the washrooms,” Aziz, ArtSci ’13, said. “Further, we are hoping to purchase some commercial blenders to make blended drinks such as smoothies for the summer.” He added that these changes will help the Goat better serve the Kingston community, as well as ensuring the financial stability of the café.

— Rosie Hales

Professor creates website

A website created by a Queen's professor could help students around the world practice new languages.

Associate Professor Jennifer Ruth Hosek began developing LinguaeLive as a tool to help her GRMN 201 students practice speaking German. Students in Hosek's class were paired with students of English from Martin Luther Universität in Germany. Partners were required to chat weekly over Skype.

The model that Hosek used in her class has now been adapted to create a free website. Instructors anywhere in the world can sign up their university students to be paired with students who are proficient in their target language.

The project was supported by Queen's and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, about $23,000 in total.

According to their website, LinguaeLive "is like having a modern-day pen pal, an expert coach, and student tutor in one."

In a Queen's media release, Hosek said engaging in dialogue with an expert speaker of a language is one of the best ways to learn that language. "There is so much that peers can learn from each other, especially as part of a globalized classroom," she said.

— Holly Tousignant

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