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

1. Organising interim assessment

The University has almost completed the interim assessment (32,608 tests and examinations have been conducted), with only a few exams remaining. During the past week Virtual Reception has received 62 applications from students and teachers, including 18 applications on academic issues, 4 of them concerning assessments.

Among these, a student reported that during the semester he could not contact the teacher of a particular discipline and upload his academic work to the Blackbord information system. The investigation revealed that the student had never logged in to the class to complete the assignment since the course began. The course ended on 8 June, while the student attempted to log into the system for the first time and upload the paper on 22 June. Now the opportunity to take the discipline will only be available to him in the next academic year.

Meeting participants noted that university students were required to follow the schedule of classes even in case of distance learning. They reminded that those students who had left for other regions during the pandemic and were in a time zone different from St Petersburg had an opportunity to follow an individual schedule, which many of them accepted.

2. Organising final state assessment

On 29 June, the University held nine postgraduate graduation defences. All were rated ‘excellent’. In total, 5,131 defences were held during this session. The assessment was carried out by 758 State Examination Boards (39 appeals were submitted, of which 3 were upheld).

State exams for clinical residency programmes were held for 126 residents of various medical programmes and 94 resident dentists, and three parts of the state exam for 233 law students.

The participants of the meeting mentioned various concerns expressed by students and teaching staff at the beginning of the interim and final state assessment, including students' requests to purchase equipment. Thus, in order to enable the online assessment as requested by students, directors, deans, and heads of educational programmes, the University purchased additional equipment (notebooks, webcams, etc.). As it turned out, the real need was five to ten times lower than initial requests.

3. Organising the educational process in the new academic year

The meeting addressed various scenarios for the organisation of the educational process in the new academic year. The format will depend on the epidemiological situation in the region. Three formats are potentially possible: regular classroom training; a combined learning format (e.g. distance learning for streaming lectures and regular classroom training for practical and laboratory classes); and entirely distance learning.

Directors and deans have been instructed to submit proposals on the organisation of the training process for the autumn semester of the 2020/21 academic year. It is planned that the format of the learning process will be determined by mid-August.

4. Admission of students to the University’s online courses

The University is one of the leaders in Russian online education. It ranks first in the number of courses offered at the national platform ‘Open Education’. To date, the platform hosts 132 online courses from the University, with another 87 online courses running on the Coursera international platform (second place among Russian universities).

Vladimir Starostenko, Director of the Centre of E-Learning Development, spoke about the admission of the students to the University’s online courses. Online courses were most actively used by: international students (1,944 entries; 18% of the total number of entries); philologists (1,615; 15%); physicists (1,504; 14%); economists (1,265; 11.7%); and students of Applied Mathematics (1,000; 9.2%). On the contrary, very few students in Arts (23) and Management (8) used online courses, students in Philosophy, Mathematics and Computer Science did not use them at all.

At the same time, Vladimir Starostenko noted that during the semester students of different disciplines submitted requests for free access to certain courses on the Coursera platform. The platform management provided five thousand licences to the University to access online courses. Therefore, access to these online courses was provided to students only upon submission by the directors of institutes and deans of faculties. The majority of institute and faculty heads provided students with this option. Students have successfully completed the courses and have already received certificates to be added to their portfolios.

Meeting participants discussed the issue of expanding the list of online courses offered by the University, which are to be accepted as credits for academic disciplines taught at the University. They also discussed further training of teachers to conduct classes in a distance format.

5. Purchase of software by the University

Specialists have analysed the software and other resources required for organising the educational process using information and communication technologies, including in a remote format. Following the proposals from the heads of educational and scientific departments, various options were considered. The most popular programmes proposed by the University were Zoom and MS Teams.

The meeting participants discussed their personal experience of each of these programmes. As a result, it was decided to use MS Teams for the educational process. Zoom resource will be purchased for administrative meetings, scientific and dissertation council meetings and conferences. For those university students who do not yet have experience with these systems, it was suggested to familiarise themselves with the software during the summer period. Detailed video tutorials on working with Zoom are available at (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWVmsJQO8Rg&t=13s) and MS Teams at (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn3k7ca4cQI). By the decision of the Rector, the teaching staff will be provided with the opportunity to be trained to work with these resources so that by the beginning of the new academic year, most of them will have completed the training.

6. Application for grants

The University is conducting work with its scientific and pedagogical personnel to: clarify the procedures for applying for external grants; organise expertise; and other issues that arise during the implementation of projects (meetings with scientific and pedagogical staff, questionnaires, etc.). In the second quarter, more than 300 research and teaching staff participated in six such events.

During this work, it was found out that more than 50% of the questions asked by the participants at the second and even third meetings (in the online format) repeat the questions asked during the first meeting. This is despite detailed answers and explanations being provided and published on the website (https://nauka.spbu.ru/faq.html).

These events will be held on a monthly basis, taking into account the specifics of the upcoming applications and reports on current grants. The first workshop will take place on 15 July. If it is necessary to include a question in the seminar agenda, please send it to the Head of the Research Support Service Elena Lebedeva by e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Video recordings of the events will be published on the website.

7. Outcomes of a court dispute

The Court has rejected the cassation appeal of a University employee Sergei Demin who claimed that the University had violated his labour rights regarding the payment of wages. In particular, the employee mistakenly believed that the wage paid by the University cannot be lower than the regional minimum wage.

The meeting participants noted that from time to time some University staff are influenced by people who convince them that an employee will always receive the maximum bonus to his or her salary, no matter how effectively he or she performs his or her duties. The result is a decline in the quality of work (sometimes a complete failure to perform their duties under an employment contract) and a subsequent decrease in income or dismissal. All judicial disputes in such cases have ended in favour of the University, but from time to time there are still employees who follow this path.

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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