In 2010, within the framework of the University management reform, temporary posts of vice rectors for areas of study were established. Their task was to unite the fragmented university resources (premises, equipment, library and information resources, food outlets, etc.) and organize access to them and their use by all the University students.

Gradually, as the tasks were being completed, the need for such powers disappeared, and these positions were abolished.

How has the University life changed in seven years? What did the vice rectors do in their areas of study? Let us recall SPbU vice rectors who worked to ensure the implementation of educational programmes and research activities in various areas of study:

  • I.A. Dementyev, Senior Vice Rector of St Petersburg University; S.P. Tunik, Professor of the SPbU Department of General and Inorganic Chemistry; V. V. Eremeev, Head of the Main Department for Personnel Management (they were Vice Rectors for Mathematics, Mechanics, Control Processes, Physics and Chemistry).
  • V. V. Lukyanov, Head of the Main Department for the Use and Protection of Intellectual Property of St Petersburg University; M. Yu. Lavrikova, Vice Rector for Academic and Methodological Work of St Petersburg University (they were Vice Rectors for Medicine, Medical Technology, Dentistry and Law)
  • V.S. Katkalo, Rector of the Corporate University of Sberbank (he was Vice Rector for Geology and Management)
  • Yu. V. Fedotov, Associate Professor of the SPbU Department of Operational Management (he was Vice Rector for Management)
  • S.I. Bogdanov Acting Rector of A.I. Herzen Russian State Pedagogical University (he was Vice Rector for African and Asian Studies, Arts and Philology — Orders for imposition of penalties: as of 05.04.2017 № 6798/2 "On strengthening measures of control over the safety of property of St Petersburg University", as of 04.04.2017 № 6590/2 "On Strengthening Control Measures for Compliance with Legislation on Public Procurements", as of 10.04.2015 № 3488/2 "On the Application of Disciplinary Sanctions", as of 24.10.2013 № 9683/2 "On the Application of Disciplinary Sanctions", of 03.04.2013 № 2092/2 "On Disciplinary Responsibility", as of 01.04.2013 № 1168/1 "On the organization of control over the execution of orders", as of 28.08.2012 № 8241/2 "On the application of disciplinary penalty in connection with the delayed payment of scholarships", as of 20.05.2011 № 3791/2 "On the Order of 21.03.2011 № 391/2 "On the transfer of employees to another job ", as of 28.04.2011 № 2893/2 "On imposing disciplinary punishment", as of 09.08.2010 № 1931/1 "On the provisions for the implementation in the SPbU educational programme Arts and Humanities" and academic research in philology and the reprimand", as of 19.04.2010 № 1191/2 "On the Application of Disciplinary Sanctions".)
  • A.A. Zavarzin, Deputy Head of the Foundation "Talent and Success" (he was Vice Rector for Biology, Geography, Geo-Ecology and Soil Science —  honored with a letter of merit recognition )
  • S. V. Aplonov, Vice Rector for Research of St Petersburg University (he was Vice Rector for Geography, Geology, Geo-Ecology and Soil Science)
  • L. A. Tsvetkova, Director of the Institute of Psychology with the assigned responsibilities of  Vice Rector for Strategic Development of A.I. Herzen State Pedagogical University (he was Vice Rector for History, Psychology and Philosophy)
  • E.G. Chernova, Senior Vice Rector for Economy of St Petersburg University (she was Vice Rector for International Relations, Political Science, Sociology and Economics, and since the end of 2012 also for Management and Geology; in the field of her responsibility, she also had the SPbU College of  Physical Culture and Sports, Economics and Technology as well as the All-University Department of Physical Culture and Sports.


"Feudal" fragmentation

Let us recall: originally, the deputy deans for academic work and employees subordinated to them independently dealt with academic timetables at each faculty, as each faculty had "their own" rooms. The scheduling of the pedagogical work was carried out by heads of the academic departments, and some of them also participated in timetable provision, because some departments had their own rooms accessible for their staff only. But they did it, first of all, for "their" employees and taking into account "their" rooms. And if, say, there were not enough large rooms, they could put a large group in a small room - saying that "anyway, not all of them will come". The situation was the worst for lecturers from other departments, who were forced to solve the problems of organizing classes themselves, not relying on the administrative staff.

For example, classes for medical students were for a long time organized in the building at 41 Sredny Prosp. (four or five stops by public transport or 20-25 minutes on foot), while there were large auditoriums in the building at 7 22nd Line that was not far from their building at 8 21st Line. Similarly, students of history could not even hope to get the "philosophers' rooms" - the building at 5 Mendeleyevsky Line was divided with iron bars. Students of sociology and students of political science in those days could not have classes in large auditoriums in the neighboring building, which was "owned" by students of international relations. Brick walls divided parts of one building, which are located at the same address, 1-3 Smolny Str. (only the entrances are different). In order to go to the refectory, the cafe or the library to the neighbors, it was necessary first to go out into the street and then go into another entrance - if they let you in (there was their "own" guard there) and you needed a pass.

Until 2010, the legislation on education had the notion of a "separate structural subdivision with partial powers of a legal entity" (Can there be "separate subdivisions with a partial status of a legal entity" at the University?). The lack of an effective management model for such a large and diverse structure, lack of integral information about the University resources (its buildings, finances, employees, students, equipment, etc.), as well as the lack of management tools for the heads of University collectives (deans of faculties), together with this rule of law led to the "feudal" fragmentation of the University (Why not "classes at the faculty?"). Following the path of least resistance, the University leadership was compelled to issue to each dean a general power of attorney for the disposal of funds (both budgetary and extra-budgetary from income-generating activities), property, personnel, etc. The dean, who had the general power of attorney of the Rector, could fully determine the expenditures of extra-budgetary funds received for the training of students and from other sources.

As of 2008, the number of SPbU officials who had the right to take and dismiss and appoint a salary, was not known to the University management, since the account of general powers of attorney (which gave this right to an employee) was absent. There was no exact information on the number of teachers and researchers (at the end of 2008, the data received by the Rector from the accounting department, personnel department and PFC for this category of employees differed by 1.5-2 times!). The data on the number of departments, buildings, educational programmes, grants, etc. were not clear. The lack of a unified system for recording personnel, wages, other resources not only undermined the unity of the University, but also its economy (Rector's interview. The Rector of St Petersburg University spoke openly about income; meeting as of 11.04.2011, item 6).

The University actually broke up into several, almost non-interacting parts. The deans kept their methodologists, laboratory technicians, programmers, cleaners, security guards, etc., in the staff. They spent "their" money on repairing premises, purchasing furniture, technical equipment, etc. - to provide their "own" faculty. Neighbors did not know about the equipment that was nearby, and if they did, they could not use it. For example, almost every dean had his own risographs, homegrown printing houses for the reproduction of educational, methodical and promotional materials. The deans spent money on repairing their "own" hostels for "their" students (Materials of the Rector's meeting as of 05.09.2011, paragraph 5). They pursued their policy of admitting entrants, sent "messengers" to the regions of the country to attract schoolchildren to their "own" educational programmes. And it often happened that such "messengers" met and competed with each other in "promising" regions.

The deans managed the property of the University - each according to his or her own rules. The principles of allocating resources (for wages, for education, for science) were, as a rule, opaque, and the real state of affairs was not known not only to ordinary employees, but also to the leadership of the University. The effectiveness of the use of resources depended not only on the qualification of the dean, but also on the availability of opportunities for making rational decisions that are not always popular. But even at best it was "efficiency for the faculty," and not for providing educational or scientific facilities for the entire University.

How to unite?

At the first stage, the unified management of such a "feudal" conglomerate, uniform norms and rules were hardly possible. To ensure the management of the University in these conditions, the Rector appointed seven vice rectors for the implementation of educational programmes and research activities in the areas of study. They had a common task: to make an inventory of the available material resources, to unite them and to establish an optimal system for their accounting and effective use in the interests of all University students under uniform rules. That is why, even with the introduction of these posts, it was clear that they would be temporary.

Vice rectors for areas of study were supposed not to lead the educational or scientific process, but establish effective work to provide educational and research activities using common University resources: buildings, classrooms, libraries, refectories, equipment, administrative personnel. From separate departments (in each of which there were separate services - planning, accounting, personnel, economic, educational, scientific, library, etc.) it was necessary to recreate a single University. It was necessary to learn how to live together, as a single collective. At the same time, the work of unified centralized services under the leadership of new vice rectors for activities and new heads of departments was being established at the University. For example, the officials responsible for the education process were among the first to coordinate their activities. This took place under the supervision of  E. G. Babelyuk, Head of the Educational Board and then the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs. It was necessary to gradually develop uniform rules acceptable to all, the work of the education departments (in the past, the dean's offices), to form an information system for common work and to do many other things (The Academic Affairs Office and the rights of students: past and present). The new Director of the Academic Library, N.G. Matsneva, began synchronizing the work of the library's branch departments with the unified requirements of providing students with literature. Accounting departments, information technology services, etc. started working according to the unified rules. All this, of course, took place in the interaction of the vice rectors for areas of study with the leaders responsible for the respective activities in the whole University. The Rector's meetings were held with all the heads weekly to develop common approaches.

Innovations, the introduction of uniform rules and a clear management system, when each leader operates within the established powers, was first perceived by many workers as depriving apparent freedoms (as if someone were taking something away from them), rather than creating a new system for their activity, convenient and profitable for all. Many thought that if the dean of the faculty did not "manage" the economic services, the security service, the accounting department, etc., the situation would sharply deteriorate.

But gradually the attitude towards innovations began to change - both employees and students saw positive developments:

  • the salary grew (Materials of the Rector's Meetings as of 30.01.2012, paragraph 3, as of 24.09.2012, paragraph 2, от 26.11.2012, paragraph 5, as of 21.01.2013, paragraph 3)
  • there was more order in the use of University resources (Materials of the Rector's Meeting as of 09.07.2012, paragraph 2
  • everybody had a chance for getting a research grant (Materials of the Rector's Meetings s of 11.07.2011, paragraph 5, as of 27.02.2012, paragraph 4)
  • modern equipment of the Research Park became available for use (Research Park: on the Way to the Future)
  • there was an opportunity to receive an additional payment for scientific publications

 (Materials of the Rector's Meetings as of 31.10.2011, paragraph. 1, as of 28.01.2013, paragraph 1)

  • there was an opportunity to win a competition and go to a conference or practice (Materials of the Rector's Meetings as of 04.04.2011, paragraph 4, as of 06.06.2011, paragraph11)
  • information about managing decisions became open.

After a period of indecision and understanding of innovations, all those who wanted to work began to actively participate in the improvement of the new rules.


First steps

Where did the vice rectors begin their activities? From the inventory of the available resources. For example, Doctor of Economics E. Chernova, Vice Rector for International Relations, Political Science, Sociology and Economics, noted that even parts of the roof of neighboring buildings at the address: 1-3 Smolny Str. differed: the roof of her department was in a relatively good state, while in the sociologists’ attic there were basins to collect water from leaks, and the political scientists' attic was filled up with used furniture and equipment, written off or unaccounted for old property. And at the same time each attic was locked with a separate lock, and the keys were not at the reception desk, yet nobody knew where they were (that is, the fire safety rules were violated).

There were also three branch departments of the Academic Library in the buildings at 1-3 Smolny Str, - each faculty has its own. And there were fears that "strangers" would come from adjacent parts of the building and break or spoil something. Through the efforts of the vice rector for areas of study in the premises of the eighth entrance, a single branch department of the library was established for international relations, political science and sociology. More rooms became available, they stopped ordering duplicate copies of books and textbooks. Some of the redundant library workers were transferred to other branches or central departments. In three years due to the pooling of the resource, everything was put in order: attics were freed from trash, the old things were collected and given to a warehouse for second-hand, roofs, toilets, heating centers, sewer manholes and wells, electrical panels, auditoriums, etc. were repaired. Moreover, repairs were carried out where it was necessary, and not on the principle of "the rich" - "the poor". The most important thing: sociologists, political scientists, international relations specialists (both students and employees) saw the advantages of collective existence: now they can use educational facilities, equipment, refectories and cafes, etc.

The same repair works were carried out in the building in 5 Mendeleevskaya Line, by the efforts of the Vice Rector for History, Psychology and Philosophy L.A. Tsvetkova: repair of the roof and water drains, interfloor overlappings, stairwells, more than 100 classrooms and other rooms, corridors, toilets. And before repairing the stairs iron bars were broken, which for many years had divided the historians and the philosophers. But, as it turned out, the invisible "bars" remained in the heads. L.A. Tsvetkova remembered how she came on September 1, 2012 to congratulate the collectives with the beginning of the academic year. She talked with one of the deans, he took her to the first floor and stopped ... in the middle of the hall: "I will not go any further - it's not our territory."

No more bars, no more walls - but internal barriers, old habits at that time still remained.

The inefficiency in the use of premises can be demonstrated by the fact that in the building at 1 Ulyanovskaya Str. in ten auditoriums where the staff of the Department of Nuclear Physics were located, none of the research and teaching staff were present in the midst of the working day (when Vice Rector for the Areas of Study V. V. Eremeev came). It was only with difficulty that the "duty officer" was found, whose duties included "looking after" the rooms ... It was decided to clear the premises, to dispose of obsolete equipment that had long been unused and of unnecessary things, to carry out the repair work and to transfer the rooms into the common use.

The disintegration was then not only between faculties, but also inside them. For example, in the faculty of geography and geo-ecology there were auditoriums, laboratories, computer offices, which were used only by employees and students of the relevant departments, and "outsiders" from other departments were prohibited from entering. The contrast of the division into "our own" and "other" was vividly seen when you compare beautifully renovated and furnished offices of the dean, deputy deans, director of the institute, accounts department, personnel department and crumbling ceilings and leakages on the walls in student auditoriums and teachers' rooms. Vice Rector for the Areas of Study A.A. Zavarzin had to cope with all this, when, after taking office and inventorying the condition of the premises in the buildings at 33-35 10th Line and 17 Botanicheskaya, he directed the funds to repair the roofs, gutter systems, toilets, auditoriums.

At the same time, due to obvious problems, the pooling of resources and their effective use was not achieved in some cases. For example, using one building (11 Universitetskaya Embankment), philologists and orientalists continued to rely on "their own" resources only, which were fragmented not only into "faculty" ones, but even into "department" ones.

Until recently, there continued to exist department libraries and department auditoriums, accessible only to the members of the relevant departments. The Vice Rector for the Areas of Study S.I. Bogdanov did not organize any joint management of financial resources, nor a general approach to repair work or a single approach to the formation of a fair calculation and payment of salaries to teaching stuff and administrative workers. (Presentation by V.P. Kazakov).


In order to make a curriculum, it was necessary to collect information about all the rooms available in all the buildings of the University. Vice Rector for Medicine, Medical Technology, Dentistry and Law M.Yu. Lavrikova relied on the information system "Electronic Schedule", which had been already established at the Faculty of Law (in the future this system was by the decision of the Vice Rector E.G. Babelyuk used as a basis for a single electronic timetable, which has been working for all students and professors of the University for several years already). Later, this electronic system included information on the use of audiences for medical students and dental students. This was done taking into account the available rooms in the buildings at 7 22nd Line and 71 Bolshoy Prosp. In these buildings, now they could hold students' and scientific conferences in medicine, testing in English for first-year students, etc. And in the branch department of the library, electronic books were gradually introduced, as it had been done in the middle of the 1990s in the branch department in the field of law. The reading room in the building at 7 22nd Line became accessible to all students and professors of the University.

The "Phoenix" Сenter in the building at 33-35 10th Line, equipped with funds from grants and previously open only to a narrow group of students of the so-called Baltic University, is open to all the students now. The technical capabilities of the center are now used for classes with students of different educational programmes, for holding seminars and conferences.

Large auditoriums in the buildings at 1-3 Smolny Str. are now used for sociologists and political scientists as well as for international students, who can attend lectures of teachers of the "neighboring" faculties. A large conference room for 450 seats in the building at 21-25 Tavricheskaya has been often used to conduct university-wide events - for example, for meetings of the Academic Council of St Petersburg University or conferences. As well as the assembly halls in University buildings at 16 Dekabristov, 5 Mendeleyevskaya Line, 7 22nd line or at the "Mikhailovskaya Dacha" campus.

Joint meetings of scientific councils of the law and medical faculties began to be held to discuss interdisciplinary issues. As a result, for example, the master's educational programme on medical law was developed and opened, where members of the law and medical faculties teach.

The POMOR master's programme, developed by St Petersburg University in partnership with the University of Hamburg, was previously practically "usurped" by a narrow group of "founding fathers". In the beginning, it existed in three renovated and equipped premises in a building at 33-35 10th Line, kept under lock and key (for each lecture under this programme professors received an additional payment from the grant from the German partners). On the initiative of the Vice Rector for Areas of Study A.A. Zavarzin, new professors from among biologists, geographers and geologists who really have extensive practical experience in the Arctic and the northern seas were involved in the implementation and development of this master's programme. And for the students of the programme not only supposedly "fixed" three rooms became available, but the resources of a new common computer classes, laboratories and classrooms. In the future, this approach led to the development of a new complimentary master's programme "CORELIS", which since 2016 has been included in the list of educational programmes of St Petersburg University, implemented in partnership with German universities.

It was in the last three years that the University has introduced over a dozen new interdisciplinary educational programmes:
1. Geophysics and Geochemistry
2. Global Communication and International Journalism
3. State and Municipal Management
4. Engineering-Oriented Physics
5. Information and Nuclear Technologies
6. Islamic Studies
7. Classical Sinology and Chinese Traditional Culture
8. Comprehensive Study of the Environment of the Polar Regions (CORELIS)
9. Culture of Media
10. Mediation
11. International Journalism
12. International Sociology
13. International Management (profiles with in-depth study of Chinese, Korean and Japanese)
14. Management of Tourist Destinations
15. Hydrological Hazards: From Monitoring to Decision-Making (GOI)
16. Organization of Tourist Activities (with in-depth study of the Chinese language)
17. Political Conflictology
18. Legal Support of Competition
19. Applied Information Technologies. Information Expert Systems
20. Applied, Computer and Mathematical Linguistics (English)
21. Applied Mathematics and Informatics
22. Applied Mathematics and Informatics in the Problems of Medical Diagnostics
23. Applied Mathematics and Informatics in Digital Control Problems
24. Professional Speech in the Media
25. Regional Studies in Russia
26. Russian Studies
27. Russia and China in Contemporary World Politics
28. Contemporary China: Economics, Politics, Society
29. Physical Oceanography and Bioproductivity of Oceans and Seas (FOBOS)
30. Chemistry, Physics and Mechanics of Materials
31. Economics (with in-depth study of the Chinese economy and the Chinese language)
32. Economic and Mathematical Methods
33. Ethnopolitical Processes in Modern Russia and the World
34. Law (with in-depth study of the Chinese language and law of the PRC)
35. Lawyer in the Financial Market (Financial Lawyer)


Formation of the competent staff of the Rector's Office was one of the important tasks of vice rectors for areas of study. Originally, in the subordination of the deans of faculties, there were personnel departments, accounting departments, teaching departments, procurement services, technical support, etc. For example, in the middle of 2010, when E.G. Chernova was appointed Vice Rector for International Relations, Political Science, Sociology and Economics, there were 459 employees in the administrative services. And by the end of 2013 the number of administrative employees decreased by 15%. This happened as a result of the reorganization: for example, instead of four accounting services (each with its own boss!), there remained only one - the department of centralized accounting at St Petersburg University. The same thing happened to the other services. During the transition period, double subordination was established for the employees. The first level of subordination: accounting workers were subordinated to the chief accountant of St Petersburg University, personnel officers - to the head of the personnel department of St Petersburg University, etc. The second level of subordination: all of them were subordinate to the vice rector for areas of study (in his or her sphere of competence). For officials of the University administration, job descriptions were written or updated.

This work was carried out in close cooperation with the vice rectors for activities that formed common rules and approaches to management and to whom all the authority to manage administrative services was gradually transferred.

The staffing table of economic services was brought into line with the standards for servicing the property complex. Before, for example, some cleaners served 200 square meters (the office of the dean and a couple of offices next door), while the others - 1500 square meters. After establishing order, the staff was optimized, part of the jobs was outsourced from cleaning companies, and the number of full-time employees was reduced. There were unified requirements for employees providing work of halls of residence. All this work was coordinated by G.S. Vasilyev, Vice Rector for Material Assets Operation.

Vice rectors for areas of study were making efforts to exclude duplication of labor contracts (sometimes referred to as intra-university cooperation), on the one hand (Materials of the Rector's Meeting as of 10.10. 2015, paragraph 3, Materials of the Citizens' Reception as of 7.10. 2014, paragraph 2), and on the other - to develop of individual labor contracts. "A lot of work has been done to organize high-quality personnel records, starting from the acquisition of personal files and ending with the organization of competitive procedures," said V.V. Eremeev, Head of the Main Directorate for Personnel Management. - Competition announcements from empty formalities (job declarations and salaries) have been transformed into a tool for selecting the best research and teaching staff. Each announcement now contained minimum qualification requirements, including certain scientometric indicators, experience, academic degree, etc. The introduction of a new approach in the organization of competitive procedures required from the vice rectors for areas of study significant preparatory and explanatory work, the development of uniform rules for establishing qualification requirements, reformatting principles of verification of applicants' documents".

Along with this, active introduction of individual labor contracts with research and teaching staff began, in each of them the duties of a specific employee were listed in the educational, educational, methodical, scientific, expert and other work, qualitative and quantitative indicators of the effectiveness of the research and teaching worker were recorded. For this purpose, both the employee's achievements in the previous period and his or her potential were previously analyzed. It is important to note that the scope of the obligations assumed by the employee determined not only the duration of the employment contract signed, but also the salary.

Salaries and bonuses

Approaches to bonuses for the employees used to be different too, each dean has his or her own. Often the criteria were not formalized, the personnel could not understand them, sometimes they were simply paid for the fact that "he is a good worker". For example, in the collective of political scientists budgetary and non-budgetary bonuses were distributed by the dean, at the faculty of sociology it was done by a meeting of heads of departments, economists had a general salary fund which was first divided into departments according to the number of employees, and each head of the department assigned awards according to his or her own criteria, at international relations department there was a system of extra payments (for scientific work, for qualification, for work with commercial students), geographers had a system of monthly allowances for "posts" (for assistants, associate professors, professors - different mark-ups). These "bonus systems" were opaque and incomprehensible to most members of the collectives. And, for example, the extra payments for the management of the department differed several times: at one faculty four thousand rubles a month were paid extra, and on the other - as much as 20. There were also examples when monthly extra payments to a narrow group of "leaders" (the dean, his deputies, the chief accountant of the faculty) at the expense of the funds received from the payment of students' tuition, were an order higher than the payments from the same funds to the teachers who taught these students.

Vice rectors for areas of study in their part introduced uniform rules for awarding bonuses at the University according to the criteria of labor evaluation common to all research and teaching staff. These criteria were discussed in teams, and changes were made. Priority was given to those criteria that allowed assessing the employee's contribution to the achievement of common goals, the performance in accordance with the indicators of the SPbU Development Programme (and, accordingly, they motivated employees to achieve these results).

75% and no less - was to be the proportion of research and teaching staff with a scientific degree in the team of the University.

In those collectives of faculties, where this proportion was below the established indicator, the volumes of the stimulating fund were decreasing. As the Development Programme indicators were reached, the payment criteria were changed. For example, at the very beginning, in 2011-2012, employees were awarded bonuses for any publication activity, later - only for articles indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection and Scopus databases.

The system of questioning was also introduced. One example: members of the Faculty of Political Science, Faculty of Sociology, Faculty of Economics and Faculty of International Relations began to fill in questionnaires every quarter of a year. They had to answer questions about their achievements in educational, scientific and other activities. This information was checked by a special commission, which included two advisers to the vice rector for areas of study and two employees of the teaching department. At first the check was total, and then it became selective. Another example: chemists, physicists, mathematicians, applied mathematicians presented information about their research, about the work of their aspirantura programme students and about their scientific partners using a unified information system.

The new bonus system increased the differentiation in the collectives. Appeared those who did not receive the bonus. This caused discontent among some employees. Most of the vice rectors for areas of study held meetings with the teams and explained the new principles of the bonus system. By 2012, a new all-university policy of incentive payments was already being actively implemented. The wage fund increased (also through the use of borrowed funds), and the amount of incentive funds, which were assigned according to the proposals of the deans, also grew. The transparency of the incentive payments made the new system more understandable for all the employees and did not allow the heads of collectives to solve narrow "personal" problems.

Rules are uniform

The research and teaching staff elected to be the leaders of the collectives (the deans, heads of the departments) were gradually freed from the administrative powers that are not necessary for them (more time for development). These functions began to be performed by the employees of administrative departments as component parts of general University services: the educational managing department, the managing department of educational programmes, the managing department of research, the planning and financial managing departments, the accounting and financial control department, the personnel department. They worked according to unified University rules.

The task of assessing the work of teachers who should participate in the implementation of educational programmes, was decided based on student interviews about the quality of the work of teachers. The information received was taken into account when distributing the work load and scheduling lessons (Materials of the Rector's meeting as of 17.10. 2016, paragraph 1, Students affect the quality of education in St Petersburg University). The work of educational and methodological commissions, which were formed from research and teaching staff who volunteered to work in commissions, became more active. They understood the content of the educational process and wanted to change, improve the existing programmes (Materials of the Rector's meeting as of 23.09. 2013, paragraph 5). This activity was met with the active resistance of some department heads, who did not want changes. Gradually we departed from the principle of "one department - one programme" (or two, three). First were created, as they said, inter-department, and then interdisciplinary programmes. The staff of the Directorate of Educational Programmes offered new scientific leaders of educational programmes.

In 2010, after the approval of the Programme for the Development of St Petersburg University, the active construction of the Research Park, which operates according to general rules, began (Research Park: on its way to tomorrow). Formation of resource centers as centers of collective use was organized for the benefit of the whole University. The most active scientists and teachers participated in discussing the proposals: what modern scientific equipment is needed for the work of different specialists, for which research. Decisions on the purchase of new devices were taken only after a stormy discussion of requirements (materials of the Rector's meetings as of 30.05.2011, paragraph 3, as of 03.05.2011, paragraph 4). Similarly, the criteria for assigning incentive payments for scientific publications (materials of the Rector's meetings as of 17.10. 2011, paragraph 4, as of 24.10. 2011, paragraph 7) were publically discussed. In both cases, University stuff saw: the rules are the same for everyone, the requirements are all-university ones (and not narrow "faculty" ones). Participation in common affairs, general discussions helped to see common goals and common ways to achieve them.


Funds for research at the University began in 2010 to be distributed exclusively on a competitive basis - based on the results of the examination (and not in the quiet of the offices of the University leaders, as it had been before - Materials of the Rector's meeting as of 21.04. 2014, paragraph 6). The funds were annually divided according to the activities - depending on the objectives of the scientific work. Applications are submitted directly by scientific teams and research groups. No one needs a sanction of the head of the department or the dean. Selection of applications for research grants is carried out centrally, on a competitive basis based on the results of independent examination of applications. At the same time, the principles of competence, objectivity, transparency of procedure and openness of competition results are observed. Most vice rectors for areas of study spent a lot of effort in order to explain the meaning of the new rules during meetings with research and teaching staff, to show and prove their effectiveness. The number of applications for research has increased, interdisciplinary research projects are developing.

Similarly, on a competitive basis, funds were allocated for R&D from extra-budgetary funds, which the vice rectors for areas of study managed. Practically for each area of study a competition commission was established, which evaluated the applications submitted according to pre-established and declared criteria (members of such commissions did not have the right to submit their own applications for research).

The competition commissions formed the ranked lists of applications, who were then financed from the top down - depending on the size of the limit for each scientific Area of Study. It happened that some applications left the "waiting list" - in the case when they were financed by a centralized fund. So it was in the beginning, in 2010-2011. And later the rule was introduced: only those authors of applications that had participated in general tenders for financing from the budget could apply for financing from extra-budgetary funds. This rule still works.

There were no textbooks on a number of special disciplines (especially for master's programmes). The Vice Rector for Areas of Study Ye. G. Chernova organized a competition for publishing author's textbooks. Applications were accepted only for those disciplines where the authors had already had previous publications. As a result, 11 textbooks on special subjects were published. After that, the Vice Rector held the second contest for publishing author's textbooks - in English. As a result, the Lexington Books international publishing house published in English a textbook of the author's collective of St Petersburg University under the leadership of N. Tsvetkova "Russia, Eurasia and Eastern European Politics".

The policy also changed with regard to the journals of the "Vestnik of St Petersburg University" series. New editorial boards were formed, which attracted external scientists from other scientific organizations, including foreign ones. This work has brought success. In 2017, three series of the journal Vestnik SPbU: History, Art Studies and Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Control Processes were included in the Scopus database. The journal "Vestnik of St Petersburg University", the “History” series, is also included in the database of the Web of Science Core Collection (Proceedings of the Rector's meeting as of 7.08.2017, paragraph 4).

Partners’ resources

Each educational programme has its own specificity. For example, the practical part of teaching medical students was traditionally conducted at clinical bases (there used to be about 90 of them). Yet, this training was based on principles far from the requirements of legislation. Therefore, the Vice Rector for Areas of Study M. Yu. Lavrikova primarily solved the problem of accounting: what medical equipment is available at each clinical base and what can our students learn there. Only then was the question of concluding the agreement between the St Petersburg University and the bases decided. A standard form of the university contract with clinics was developed, on the basis of which contracts were concluded - now more than 70 such contracts have been concluded (Practices for future doctors: past and present).

The "external" resources of the University's partners are also used. For example, classes and exams for students of St Petersburg University studying under the programme "Vocal Art" are held in the premises of the Mariinsky Theater, it was organized by V.A. Gergiev, Dean of the Faculty of Arts. The students of St Petersburg University majoring in Asian and African studies and museology, take classes in the halls of the Hermitage, organized by M. B. Piotrovsky, Dean of the Faculty of Asian and African Studies.

The establishment of order at the University was also achieved in the implementation of educational programmes. For example, in the 1990s - the 2000s, the administration of the University and S.I. Bogdanov, Dean of the Faculty of Philology, on behalf of the University, organized projects with sonorous names "Smolny Institute", "French College" and "Canadian College" (What is the structure of the faculty of free science and arts of St Petersburg University? What happened to the Smolny Institute? Materials of the Rector's meetings as of 10.10.2012, paragraph 3, as of 04.02.2014, paragraph 4, (Document on the end of the joint educational programme of the Canadian Christian College and St Petersburg University), (Traces of the Canadian College at the University are not found). These looked like programmes implemented by the University jointly with foreign partners from France, the USA, Canada. In fact it was the work of foreign educational organizations in St Petersburg under the cover of the name of St Petersburg University and with the use of the University property.

For several years the new administration of the University has been working for preserving the existing long-standing relations with the French and American partners, at the same time explaining them that these relations can only develop in strict accordance with the requirements of Russian legislation and the Statute of the St Petersburg University. On the territory of St Petersburg University, educational programmes of foreign universities and organizations are no longer being implemented. At present, only our own educational programmes are being implemented in the premises of SPbU. The content of these educational programmes is determined by the Academic Council of St Petersburg University, and not by the Board of Trustees of the "French College" (, p. 3) or the Smolny Institute (What is the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of St Petersburg University? Will the University "pay for the Smolny Institute graduate" training? Materials of the Rector's Meeting of June 15, 2015, paragraph 4).

Here, for example, is a quote from a letter of one of the leaders of the Bard College, dated 11.06.2010: "I would like to note that there is no mention of the Smolny Institute on the agenda. This is a departure from the previous practice and puts us before certain difficulties. The educational activity of the Bard College is determined by the Charter of the State of New York. Bard is one of the institutions of the educational system of the State of New York. This system recognizes the accredited degree that we give graduates of Smolny each year. In all the documents that we send to the government of the State of New York and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, which give us the right to award our degree in St Petersburg , the Smolny Institute appears as a place where students are trained. In the diplomas that Bard has already given to hundreds of Smolny graduates, it is said that they are given according to the liberal arts programme of the Bard College in the Smolny Institute, St Petersburg, Russia. Since the agenda gives a legal formulation of the Russian bachelor's degree, it is natural that in parallel it should give a legal formulation of the degree in the way it is accredited in the US. Therefore, I would like to propose that the wording of the first item on the agenda be amended to read: "Prospects for the strategic development of the international educational programme of the St Petersburg University "Arts and Humanities" and the "Liberal Arts Programme of the Bard College at the Smolny Institute in St Petersburg , Russia".

Similar phrases were also present in the letters from US government officials.

Now these programmes are implemented according to our University rules with observance of all requirements of the Russian legislation, the Statute of SPbU and local acts of SPbU. For example, instead of the French university college in St Petersburg (established by the Association of French Universities), which for many years, without any rent was located in the premises of St Petersburg University, the University additional educational programme "French University College" was opened in 2012, which consists of several modules (certain aspects of law, history, literature, philosophy, sociology). It is implemented with the help of invited French teachers who come on a labor visa to St Petersburg for a certain period to read lectures here, and conduct classes with students on this programme (Materials of the Rector's Meeting of 15.10.2012, item 3). The following officials participated in the negotiations with the leaders of the Bard College and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France from the part of the University: Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences G.K. Tolstoy, Professors V.S. Prokhorov and R.A. Evarestov, Vice Rector for Legal Affairs M.N. Kudilinsky, Head of the Legal Department Yu. V. Penov, Senior Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Research I.A. Gorlinsky, Vice Rector for Research N. G. Skvortsov.

No intermediaries now

The activities of the vice rectors for areas of study were analyzed and coordinated: weekly meetings were held, where the immediate tasks and ways of achieving them were specified. A scheme was developed, and the vice rectors for areas of study could replace each other during vacations, business trips, or in case of illnesses of colleagues. This was done so that the vice rectors could look at their problems and tasks from the positions of the whole University.

The temporary nature of the work of the vice rectors for areas of study was known to them from the very beginning. Gradually, with the reduction of these posts, the University was organizing the work of officials of the administration (academic, scientific, economic, etc.) directly subordinate to the vice rectors for activities. In the course of these reforms, new administrative schemes were worked out for the relations between the deans and vice rectors for activities and services subordinated to them, the mechanism of intermediaries gradually disappeared (Materials of the Rector's Meeting as of 10.12.2012, paragraph 5).

The main result of the work of the vice rectors for areas of study is as follows: the University has become less fragmented and more cohesive. It lives by the general rules and develops as a single whole.