The University Rector Nikolay Kropachev  invited all meeting participants to observe a minute of silence  in honour of Innokentiy Zinoviev, Colonel (Res.) and Chairman of the University Council of Veterans of War, Labour, and Armed Forces (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/pamyati-predsedatelya-soveta-veteranov-voyny-truda-i-voennoy-sluzhby-spbgu), and Viktor Riazanov, Chairman of the Department of Economics Theory and Honoured Professor of the University (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/ushel-iz-zhizni-vydayushchiysya-uchenyy-ekonomist-professor-viktor-timofeevich).

The meeting agenda was as follows.

1. Measures to prevent COVID-19 spread

At the meeting, it was noted that the existing self-isolation will not be lifted from 1 June to 14 June 2020. This rule, however, has been somewhat relaxed: research fellows, as well as the academic staff working at Resource Centres of the University Research Park are allowed to access the premises (but no more than 200 individuals daily) (Order No 4811/1 ‘On Measures to prevent…’ dated 29 May 2020: https://spbu.ru/openuniversity/documents/o-merah-po-preduprezhdeniyu-rasprostraneniya-novoy-koronavirusnoy-infekcii). During the discussion, Robert Evarestov suggested amending the order to include punishments for violation of the rules enforced to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection. The meeting delegates supported the initiative that violators of pandemic prevention rules ‘shall be banned from work’ at the University for 14 days.

2. Educational process

The interim assessment at the University is in progress. Marina Lavrikova reported that over the past week she received total 85 enquiries from students and teachers through the Virtual Reception; on top of that 26 enquiries were addressed to her corporate mail. Those included six enquiries regarding the educational process.

Abdulla Daudov, Director of the Institute of History, reported that he had satisfied the appeal of first year students to have the Latin language final test organised by the University teachers, instead of taking it on the Open Education platform (given that the on-line course in Latin exceeds the students’ curriculum requirements manifold). The final test in online format is scheduled for 6 June 2020.

3. Organising the state final assessment

The final assessment at the University is in progress. Over 13 State Examination Boards are operating already. On 29 May 2020, 115 students took their state final exam, followed by 126 students on 1 June 2020.

The State Examination Board reported that only two students failed. Both of them have appealed their grades. A few enquiries have been submitted to the Virtual Reception regarding the State Examination Board operation. For instance, a graduate thesis peer reviewer representing the employer wanted to witness the defence without being a member of the State Examination Board. Marina Lavrikova reminded the meeting participants that according to the University regulation peer reviewers (as well as research supervisors or other experts) can witness the defence with the State Examination Board (reference to the enquiry).

Another remarkable enquiry was submitted by a student of economics. The young man was disappointed that as a result of the online format of the defence, the State Examination Board was able to review graduation theses in a more detailed manner and gained extra time to formulate questions to graduates. This undermines the adversarial principle (between the State Examination Board and defendants). The meeting delegates assumed that the enquiry was apparently a flawed joke or the student misunderstood the meaning of the adversarial principle. Nevertheless, Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods, addressed her response (reference to the Virtual Reception).

4. Self-registration in the next academic year’s courses is open to academic staff

In the run up for the coming academic year, the University is about to open the traditional annual course self-registration to the academic staff engaged in the curriculum implementation process. The meeting delegates highlighted that self-registration will be open to the academic staff and research fellows of other universities or research centres, as well as to the University teaching staff. To register, they will need to visit the Teaching at the University website and submit requests.

5. Organising the University admissions

A few enquiries were submitted to the Virtual Reception regarding whether a mandatory digital signature is required to apply to the University (https://guestbook.spbu.ru/vse-obrashcheniya/401-prorektory-spbgu/admission-education/15488-tsifrovaya-podpis-dlya-postupleniya-v-spbgu-ne-trebuetsya.html). School graduates and their parents found out in the media that without a digital signature, they will be unable to apply to the University, noting that applicants will be charged to have a digital signature registered. The meeting delegates received explanations that no digital signature is required to apply to any academic programme at the University.

Admission to University degree  programmes is organised using the University Applicant’s Personal Account (https://cabinet.spbu.ru/). Applications to academic  programmes of all levels are accepted through the Personal Account. All information on the University admission procedure is available at the Admissions Office official website (https://abiturient.spbu.ru/).

It was also noted that over the last 8 weeks the University has organised over 100 online events for applicants: open door days to mainstream academic  programmes; lectures career counselling; online counselling for foreign nationals (https://abiturient.spbu.ru/dni-otkrytykh-dverej-v-spbgu.html); as well as the University Applicant’s Day (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKCeIylj6c8). In total, over 15,000 participants from Russia and other countries were present at these online events for applicants. Additionally, by 1 June 2020 over 4,000 viewers watched the video of the University Applicant’s Day. To compare, by 1 June 2019 less than 6,000 participants turned out for similar events organised for prospective students.

The number of applications submitted by foreign nationals to the University academic programmes shows an upward trend as well: 3,500 applications were submitted by 1 June 2020 versus only 2,400 by 1 June 2019.

The delegates also focused on the international project Gaining Knowledge at Home (http://rs.gov.ru/ru/activities/10/projects/2667), launched in May 2020 by the University and Rossotrudnichestvo Federal Agency. Gaining Knowledge at Home offers a set of free webinars for teachers in Russia and other countries to provide them with methodological support amid the pandemic outbreak. In May, over 5,000 participants from 45 countries joined online classes on pedagogy and teaching Russian as a foreign language.

In June, there will be the second set of webinars (https://testingcenter.spbu.ru/novosti/50-vtoroj-tsikl-vebinarov-znaniya-doma.html) on subject-specific approaches to teaching (maths, physics, chemistry, biology, foreign languages, etc.), as well as webinars on the most relevant approaches to developing talented young learners.

Russian nationals can submit applications to the University bachelor’s/specialist’s programmes starting from 20 June 2020.

6. Research Awards Competition

The University has announced the Research Awards Competition-2020 (Order No 4639/1 dated 25 May 2020 ‘Research Awards Competition announcement…). The Competition is organised in accordance with the University regulation on research awards, enforced by Rector’s Order No 2341/1 dated 23 March 2020 (https://spbu.ru/openuniversity/documents/o-premiyah-prisuzhdaemyh-spbgu-za-nauchnye-trudy-0).

Applications are solicited for the following nominations:

  • ‘Innovation in Basic Science’ award is granted to an individual or a team (5 members maximum) for research projects (or a series of research projects), making an outstanding contribution to science; the amount of the monetary prize is 70,000 roubles;
  • ‘Young Researchers Award’ is granted to an individual or a team (5 members maximum) for research projects (or a series of research projects), making a significant advancement in science, demonstrating outstanding originality and relevance of proposed innovation; the amount of monetary prize is 50,000 roubles.

The new awards regulation has introduced a different number of prizes in each: now each nomination offers maximum 5 prizes (versus the previous 6 prizes maximum for ‘Innovation in Basic Science’ and 3 prizes maximum for ‘Young Researchers Award’). An identical number of prizes within each nomination is meant to support younger researchers and was initially put forward by the Standing Research Commission at the University Academic Board.

The application deadline is 5 October 2020. Applicants shall submit applications via the University Pure website and follow the guidelines approved by the University awards regulation.

7. Another Scopus-registered University journal

‘Vestnik SPbU. Language and Literature’ journal has been registered with the Scopus Science Metrix database. On 30 May 2020 a relevant decision was made by a board of experts. In their report, experts noted that ‘it is a reputable and well-structured journal, that has been publishing papers of presumably worldwide relevance for many years’. The journal was earlier registered with Web of Science Core Collection (WoS CC).

By now 16 journals out of 28 issued at the University are indexed in most reputable international Science Metrix databases: Scopus and Web of Science Core Collection (https://spbu.ru/nauka/nauchnye-zhurnaly-spbgu). Those include 12 Scopus indexed and 15 WoS CC indexed journals. The meeting delegates also mentioned that less than 5 years ago (on 1 January 2015) only one University journal was indexed in Science Metrix databases.

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 17 August 2020

1. St Petersburg University in ARWU-2020 ranking

The ARWU-2020 university ranking, that reflects statistics for 2019, has been published. St Petersburg University is the only Russian organisation recognised for in the Highly Cited Researchers criterion (Researchers from St Petersburg University are listed as the most cited scientists in the world).

In this group the University is represented by three luminary scientists: Gennady Leonov, Nikolay Kuznetsov, and Raul Gainetdinov who are registered with St Petersburg University as their primary affiliation. The University was therefore awarded an extra 12 points, which raised its ranking by dozens of positions as the common graph  shows. The University Administration is committed to seeing more high citation researchers among the University academic staff, as well as to support already employed high citation researchers.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 10 August 2020

1. Organisation of work amid measures to prevent COVID-19 spread

The University continues its operation in the existing format through 16 August 2020. Since 29 July the University Scientific Library has been open by prior registration to University visitors, teachers, research fellows, and administrative staff (Order No 6896/1 dated 24 July 2020 ‘Amendments to...’). A temporary procedure for all visitors to access the University museum collection was also approved. Now the Dmitri Mendeleev Museum and Archives and the Vladimir Nabokov Museum are operating according to a temporary timetable; the University is going to reopen access to its other collections in the near future (Museums of St Petersburg University reopen to visitors). The number of visitors inside the museum is strictly limited (5 or 10 visitors maximum depending on the museum indoor area).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 3 August 2020

1. Admissions to degree programmes

31 July was the deadline for acceptance of documents and applications for aspirantura programmes. Compared to 2019, this year the number of applicants has grown by almost 300. At the moment, the period of admissions tests for applicants to aspirantura programmes has started.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 27 July 2020

1. Measures to prevent COVID-19 spread

From 27 July to 16 August 2020 the University continues to operate in the existing mode. Since 29 July the University Scientific Library is open by prior registration to University visitors, teachers, research fellows, and administrative staff (Order No 6896/1 dated 24 July 2020 ‘Amendments to...’). The Dmitri Mendeleev Museum and the Vladimir Nabokov Museum are reopening their doors to visitors. The number of visitors inside the museum is strictly limited (5 visitors maximum).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 20 July 2020

1. Meeting of the St Petersburg University  Board of Trustees

On 15 July the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees held a meeting that was attended by President of the Board Dmitry Medvedev. The agenda was focused on the territorial development of St Petersburg University. Dmitry Medvedev noted that St Petersburg University has a fairly positive image in international university rankings. He highlighted that the University’s territorial development is bound to ensure future success of its students by establishing technical capacities for years to come. The full text of Dmitry Medvedev’s speech is available in the VKontakte official group of St Petersburg University.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 13 July 2020

The Rector's meeting was held on 13 July 2020 via video conference. It addressed the following issues:

1. Admission to the academic programmes of St Petersburg University

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 6 July 2020

The Rector's meeting was held on 6 July 2020 as a video conference. It addressed the following issues:

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 29 June 2020

The meeting was conducted as a video conference, and it addressed the following issues.

1.  Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 22 June 2020

As proposed by the Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Korpachev, the meeting began with a moment of silence to mark the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow.

The participants of the meeting also held a moment of silence for Vataniar Saidovich Yagya, professor emeritus of St Petersburg University (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/pamyati-pochetnogo-professora-spbgu-vatanyara-saidovicha-yagi) and the deceased St Petersburg University student Egor Panshin. 

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 15 June 2020

The University Rector Nikolay Kropachev suggested observing a minute of silence in tribute to the death of Vladislav Golikov, a University student (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/pamyati-vladislava-golikova).

On 15 June 2020 the Rector’s meeting was held in videoconference format. The agenda was as follows:

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 8 June 2020

1. St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology laid the first stone of the joint campus

On 7 June 2020 the ceremonial laying of the first stone of the joint campus of St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology took place in Harbin (PRC). Wang Wentao, Governor of the People's Government of Heilongjiang Province, the Rector of Harbin Institute of Technology Zhou Yu, and other officials witnessed the ceremony. Nikolay Kropachev, the Rector of St Petersburg University, participated in videoconference format (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/spbgu-i-harbinskiy-politehnicheskiy-universitet-nachali-stroitelstvo-sovmestnogo).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 1 June 2020

The University Rector Nikolay Kropachev  invited all meeting participants to observe a minute of silence  in honour of Innokentiy Zinoviev, Colonel (Res.) and Chairman of the University Council of Veterans of War, Labour, and Armed Forces (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/pamyati-predsedatelya-soveta-veteranov-voyny-truda-i-voennoy-sluzhby-spbgu), and Viktor Riazanov, Chairman of the Department of Economics Theory and Honoured Professor of the University (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/ushel-iz-zhizni-vydayushchiysya-uchenyy-ekonomist-professor-viktor-timofeevich).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 426 dated 19 May 2020

1. Organization of teaching within military education programmes

The meeting started a few minutes late since N.M. Kropachev was having a talk with the State Secretary/Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, General N.A. Pankov about the organization of military training sessions for the University students during the pandemic. Earlier, the Virtual Reception Office received several requests, expressing concern about the upcoming military training sessions. Due to the shift towards distance learning, many university students went home to their native regions and, in their opinion, because of the epidemic prevention measures they might not be able to return in time for the military training sessions. Furthermore, according to the students, a long journey could increase the chances of getting sick and “bringing the virus” to the military training locations.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 427 dated 25 May 2020

1. Activities of SPbU Choir during the COVID-19 pandemic

At the beginning of the Rector’s Meeting, all the participants had a change to listen to the recording of the song “Our University” composed by L. Tikhomirov and performed by SPbU Choir (artistic director E. Krotman). 

This is not the first composition recorded by the University Choir during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Earlier, the choir already performed online the song “Coronavirus shall not pass!” composed by Sergei Pleshak.

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Minutes of the Rector's Meeting No 424 dated 12 May 2020

1. Organising the University activities in May

The educational and other activities of the University will continue to be organised in the same distance mode. At the meeting, it was noted that the interim and final assessment of students will proceed entirely in the online format.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 425 dated 15 May 2020

1. Organization of interim assessment

Interim assessment in the spring semester of the academic year 2019/2020 is organized to be held remotely, using the technologies suggested by the directors and the deans. The same tools are used that were used for teaching online classes. More than 9,000 students have already taken their tests and exams. Only a few requests connected with organizational matters were submitted by the students via the Virtual Reception service. There were also requests related to the assessment of exam results. The Virtual Reception service did not receive any requests from either students, the teacher staff or other staff members of the University in connection with the matters of technical organization of online interim assessment.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 423 dated 6 May 2020

1. State final certification in distance format

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 422 dated 02 May 2020

1. Set up of academic activities from May 1 to 11

Set up of University academic activities from May 1 to 11 was discussed (Order no. 3808/1 dated April 30, 2020 ‘On the implementation of academic programs’).

It was noted that the academic process the academic process has been running in distance format for over a month. The Virtual Reception is continuously receiving enquiries from students asking when education will return back to normal. The University is committed to follow the rules and regulations enforced in St. Petersburg as a Russian Federation constituent.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 421 dated 02 March 2020

1. SPbU Olympiad for School Students and Doors Open Days

Despite negative attitudes expressed by the majority of directors and deans at the Rector’s meeting on March 13 regarding the in-presence format of the SPbU Olympiad for School Students (Materials of the Rector’s meeting dated March 16, 2020), the University hosted the in-presence finals of the SPbU Olympiad for School Students on March 14 and 15 in six subject fields (The finals of the SPbU Olympiad for School Students are over).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 420 dated 16 March 2020

1. Agreement between SPbU and the Ministry of Higher and Secondary-Specialized Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan

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