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 6 November 2020

1. The conference of the work groups on ‘Politics and International Relations’ and ‘Economics, Trade and Resources’ of the KRD Forum

On 5 November 2020, a strategic conference of the work groups on ‘Politics and International Relations’ and ‘Economics, Trade and Resources’ of the Korea–Russia Dialogue Forum took place at St Petersburg University. The conference was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Russia. The event was held online.  

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 2 November 2020

1. Organisation of the learning process

Last week, 35 enquiries from teachers as well as students and their parents including 7 enquiries on academic issues were sent to the Virtual Reception. 16 enquiries were sent to the e-mail of Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods including 13 enquiries on academic issues. The enquiries included requests for certificates and other documents, questions on the procedures of transfer and reinstatement, financial aid requests, etc.  

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 26 October 2020

1. The commission for discussing the suggestions offered by Dr Yury Fedotov

Dr Yury Fedotov, Senior Vice-Rector for Medical Care and Director of the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University, applied to the University's Rector to open a department of postgraduate medical education and to set up an academic council of the Pirogov Clinic. The aim is to improve the quality and efficiency of education and research carried out in the Clinic. The Clinic has 16 Doctors of Sciences and 70 Candidates of Sciences (Medicine). These suggestions were discussed by the Academic Council of the Faculty of Medicine and the Academic Council of the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 19 October 2020

1. The University has five winners of the RSF - DFG joint competition for grants

The results of the fifth joint competition for grants from the Russian Science Foundation and German Research Foundation (DFG) have been announced. The competition was held within the priority field of research 'Fundamental Research and Exploratory Research by International Research Collaboration Teams'. Among the competition winners are 18 projects, including 5 projects proposed by scientists and scholars from the University. Three scientists work in the natural sciences and two in the humanities: A. Timoshkin, M. Vinarski, A. Saraev, L. Moskovkin, A. Filyushkin. The amount of each grant is six million roubles to be allocated annually. The implementation period of the research project is within 2021–2023 (The Russian Science Foundation will support 18 joint Russian–German projects). Our University has the best results among all research and educational institutions across Russia. No other institution has won more than one grant.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 12 October 2020

1. New members of the University Academic Council elected

On 21 September 2020, at a conference of research and teaching staff, a new University Academic Council was elected for a five-year period along with representatives of other categories of workers and students (Conference on the election of a new Academic Council of St Petersburg University).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 5 October 2020

1. Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Taking into account the revised version of the Resolution of the Government of St Petersburg No 121 'On Measures to Counteract the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in St Petersburg' dated 13 March 2020, additional measures the University should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were discussed at this Rector's meeting. All University employees working under civil law contracts and not participating in the technological processes necessary for the life of the University are transferred to the online mode of work. The same mode is maintained for academic staff aged 65+ and employees with chronic diseases.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 30 September 2020

1. A representative office of St Petersburg University at the University for Foreigners of Siena

A week ago, a representative office of St Petersburg University was opened in Siena, Italy. The office is housed at the University for Foreigners of Siena, a partner of St Petersburg University. This is the sixth foreign representative office of St Petersburg University and the second in Europe. The University uses its representative offices to organise various events, such as lectures, seminars, conferences, roundtable discussions, exhibitions of students' creative works, and joint competitions. The efficiency of the representative offices is reflected in the positions occupied by the University in the rankings, especially in such an indicator as internationalisation. Therefore, it is very important to organise the activities of the representative offices by filling their work with particular content. In this regard, Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs, asked the meeting participants to submit proposals on the activities that could be organised at the new representative office in Italy.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 14 September 2020

1. Influenza vaccination campaign

This year earlier than ever St Petersburg University has started the seasonal influenza mass vaccination. Influenza vaccination is the responsibility of territorial healthcare authorities. The University Rector addressed enquiries to concerned vice-governors to deploy mobile vaccination points on University campuses in Vasileostrovsky and Petrodvortsovy districts, so that students and staff could benefit from getting a vaccine near their homes, work or study place. The enquiry is still to be considered. Without further ado, the University approved the student vaccination schedule with Outpatient Clinic No 3 and its administration; vaccination points will be set up inside University buildings at 16/18 7th Line, Vasilyevsky Island. The vaccination schedule for another point at 35 Universitetsky prospect is pending approval with St Nikolas Hospital administration. Vaccination schedules will be tailored to the academic timetable and posted on the University website.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 7 September 2020

1. The results of the meeting of the Council for Governmental Support of the Creation and Development of World-Class Research Centres carrying out research and development in the priority areas of science and technology – the world-class research centre 'Agrotechnologies of the Future'

On 28 August, a meeting was held of the Council for Governmental Support of the Creation and Development of World-Class Research Centres carrying out research and development in the priority areas of science and technology. It was chaired by Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. The meeting summed up the results of the competitive selection. Valery Falkov announced that 60 applications had been received in 2020 (St Petersburg University was presented in four applications). 11 out of 60 applications were selected for face-to-face consideration featuring presentation of charts.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 24 August 2020

1. Preparation for the new academic year

This year the academic timetable is the most crucial challenge of all the preparation efforts, considering that it must comply with all the COVID-19 spread prevention measures and requirements. Currently, the timetable for the 2020/2021 academic year is 70% ready and reflects the proposals submitted by deans and directors.

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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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