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).

Based on the shared resources of the two universities, the joint campus will occupy about 60,000 square metres in the historical and cultural centre of Harbin. The first students will be able to study in three bachelor’s programmes: chemistry, physics, applied mathematics, and Russian as a foreign language. All study programmes include mandatory Russian as a foreign language, history of Russia, and other subjects in the St Petersburg University benchmark curriculum. The construction of the joint campus is expected to be completed by 2022. Once finished, the campus will be able to house 1,500 students.

A work group was set up to handle academic issues. It will be led by Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods. Proposals from all University students and staff are welcome at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2. Meeting of the Russian Union of Rectors

On 5 June 2020, the Board of the Russian Union of Rectors held a meeting. It was attended by: Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation; Valery Falkov, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation; and Aleksandr Sergeev, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Tatyana Golikova highlighted that Russia has successfully implemented the transition to online learning, and expressed hope that the admission process will be a similar success. She noted that considering the last months’ events, the system of higher education has been scrutinised. This includes the preliminary results of efforts to boost the competitive potential of Russia’s higher education on a global scale.

Valery Falkov shared key points of the Strategic Academic Leadership Programme. It promotes the principles of competition, transparency, and partnership among academic and educational organisations. The Minister mentioned that competitions are scheduled for autumn this year. Based on their results, the Top University Ranking will be expanded (up to 70 maximum) and efficiency of national research universities reassessed, the number of the latter supposedly shrinking to 25. The Ministry of Education experts assume that, so far, some 150 universities satisfy the admission requirements.

The Minister underscored the exceptional role of two Russian universities – Moscow State University and St Petersburg University – for national research and education. He added that these two universities do not participate in the initiative, as they are developing according to individual programmes (in conformity with the Two Universities Law).

Nikolay Kropachev, the Rector of St Petersburg University, Vice-President of the Russian Union of Rectors, and Chairman of the Association of Leading Universities of Russia, participated in the meeting. He expressed support and high appreciation of the programme presented by the Minister of Science and Higher Education. Both in his speech at the meeting and a follow-up interview, Nikolay Kropachev underlined that the cornerstone principles of the programme (transparency, fair competition, accessibility of the programme to both educational and academic institutions) should also include the principle of fostering integration within the entire academic and education system. According to Nikolay Kropachev, a well-integrated academic and education system of Russia (i.e. 724 universities and over 1,000 academic and industry-specific research institutions) is the only way to enhance shared performance; given that due to the economic setting, financial support is only provided to individual institutions or clusters.

Nikolay Kropachev noted that the goals of the programme (to promote development of technologies in the Russian Federation; to facilitate acquisition of digital technologies; to establish a high-performing and export led cluster across basic industries; to promote the Russian Federation to the top five largest economies in the world) do not cover all of the national development goals formulated in the Russian Presidential Order No 204 dated 7 May 2020 ‘National Goals and Strategic Objectives of the Russian Federation through to 2024’. In particular, social and human goals, formulated in the Presidential Order, are still missing from the programme, which is incompatible with the mission of higher education. Moreover, the goals of the programme shall be better coordinated with programme-specific initiatives. Otherwise, the declared goals will not be achieved by implementing these initiatives formally.

Participants of the Rector’s meeting decided to comprehensively discuss the strategic academic leadership programme in two weeks at a different Rector’s meeting.

3. Organisation of interim assessment

The current assessment process at the University includes 32,608 online tests and exams. Over the last week, the Virtual Reception received 69 enquiries from students and teachers regarding the educational process set-up; on top of that, Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods, received 31 more enquiries through her corporate email.

For example, University students were concerned about the timetable of online courses and the procedure of taking tests online. The Dean of the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes reported that some students expressed concerns that the exams in the so-called ‘difficult’ subjects – mathematical analysis and mechanics — were scheduled close to the end of the examination period. On 5 June 2020, the Dean and representatives of the Academic Affairs Department met with students in videoconference format to engage students in the timetabling process. All issues were successfully resolved during the meeting.

4. Organisation of final assessment

Since 20 May 2020, the University is running graduation project defence procedures. 1,430 students have already presented their graduation projects (including 837 over the last week). 235 more law students have passed the first part of the state exam. The results are a success: 1,044 defences were graded ‘excellent (78 %); 248 – ‘good’; 36 – ‘satisfactory; with only 3 failures. Some students filed appeals: 5 appeals in Philosophy; 2 in Control Processes; and 1 in Mathematics and Mechanics.

The meeting delegates were reminded that research supervisors, fellow reviewers, and representatives of industrial partners and organisers of industrial training can participate in the defence procedure. A relevant request must be submitted to Marina Lavrikova (https://guestbook.spbu.ru/prorektory-spbgu/lavrikova-marina-yurevna/15441-ob-uchastii-v-zasedanii-gak.html).

Meanwhile, the meeting delegates noted that it is important to ensure that supervisors and peer reviewers cannot impact fair assessment of graduation projects. The delegates emphasised that such defence format gives more time to the State Assessment Board (SAB) to familiarise with the graduation project, as well as to assess the student’s oral presentation and answers to questions addressed by SAB members.

Incidentally, not all student welcomed this format. Some students have already submitted enquiries that SAB members should be limited in time to familiarise with the graduation project, presentation, and defendant’s answers to their questions. The meeting delegates noted that in contrast to such appeals, the University is committed to ensure that SAB members take as much time as they require to analyse and assess students’ performance without bias.

5. Preliminary tests of Cryptoveche e-voting system

The Cryptoveche e-voting system was demonstrated at the Rector’s meeting a year ago (https://dltc.spbu.ru/ru/). Delegates were provided with a detailed description of the e-voting system. It is powered by a technology developed at the University Distributed Ledger Technologies Centre. The system will soon be available through a regular smart-phone (https://spbu.ru/openuniversity/documents/itogi-zasedaniya-uchenogo-soveta-spbgu-86, Academic Report section). It was also mentioned that the technology can resolve confidentiality issues of secret e-voting.

The delegates noted that Cryptoveche has successfully passed the tests (Order No 5137/1 dated 5 June 2020). Siberian Federal University used Cryptoveche to elect the University President (https://news.sfu-kras.ru/node/23087). This technology ensures confidentiality of secret e-voting at meetings of the St Petersburg University Academic Board and institute or faculty academic boards. The technology has successfully passed the model tests, simulating alternative election of academic and teaching staff by members of the Chemistry Institute Academic Board. HR Department are going to provide training to secretaries of faculty and institute academic boards. Cryptoveche technical support will be set up to provide fast responses to any issues that meeting participants may face during e-voting.

6. Lyudmila Verbitskaya Fellowship

Following the plan of efforts to commemorate the memory of St Petersburg University President Lyudmila Verbitskaya (https://spbu.ru/openuniversity/documents/materialy-rektorskogo-soveshchaniya-411#p15), the Professor Lyudmila Verbitskaya Fellowship was established to honour the University undergraduate and postgraduate students of all degree programmes for outstanding performance in studying different aspects of the Russian language (Order No 4877/1 dated 1 June 2020).

7. University students win the Globcom 2020 competition

Anastasiia Alekseeva and Daria Rodicheva, St Petersburg University students (‘Advertising and Public Relations’ degree programme) have won the Globcom 2020 international competition (https://www.globcom2019.com/). This year the finals were to take place at Vilnius University, but eventually participants had to defend their projects online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with other members of their international team, St Petersburg students developed a PR-project and defended it orally. Ultimately, this project was selected best out of the nine projects submitted by the other teams who were able to make it to the finals (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/nashi-studenty-pobediteli-mezhdunarodnogo-konkursa-globcom-2020).

8. University students as camp counsellors

Children’s healthcare camps in the Leningrad region are going to open on 1 July 2020. To successfully organise summer activities for campers, assistance of students as camp counsellors, as well as commitment of professional teachers is crucial. Camp counselling is great fun and an exceptional experience, with useful skills and new career competencies, respecting traditions, true friendship, and a memory of a lifetime.

This year University students have an opportunity to work as camp counsellors in healthcare camps of the Leningrad region. Students wishing to assume these responsible duties can submit applications (https://students.spbu.ru/mmen-novosti/5294-priglashaem-na-rabotu-vozhatymi-v-detskie-ozdorovitel-nye-lagerya-leningradskoj-oblasti.html). Over 130 students have applied so far.

Remarkably, the University student squads have a long-standing tradition. Student activities at the University include membership in one of the five student teaching squads: Granat (‘Pomegranate’), Perspektiva (‘Perspective’), ROS (‘The Republic of Burning Hearts’), Skazka (‘Fairytale’), and Unison (‘Syntony’). Established in 1979 by law students of the Leningrad University, ROS (‘The Republic of Burning Hearts) is the oldest teaching squad in St Petersburg. Student teaching squads Skazka and Unison also have a long history. They were established in  1984 and 1987 respectively by Leningrad University students of mathematics. Granat is the youngest squad established in 2012 by psychology students; in 2019 Granat was recognised best pedagogical squad in St Petersburg.

9. Image events at St Petersburg University in 2021

The list of the University image events for 2021 has been approved. The list includes all international and national events where the University is among co-organisers or standing participants (St Petersburg International Legal Forum, St Petersburg International Economic Forum, St Petersburg International Labour Forum, St Petersburg International Cultural Forum, etc.) Directors and deans can submit feedback to amend the Order No 5088/1.

10. Financial management monitoring

The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation has published preliminary results of annual financial management monitoring, performed by major federal public funds managers. Over the three years the University has improved its ranking 84 to top 5, outperforming the Kurchatov Institute (top 12) in its group (АА+). The Ministry of Science and Higher Education is ranked 37, whereas Moscow State University is 79.

A detailed description of the monitoring procedure is available at: https://www.minfin.ru/ru/perfomance/budget/fin_quality/results/res2019/?id_65=130274-otchet_o_rezultatakh_provedeniya_predvaritelnogo_godovogo_monitoringa_kachestva_finansovogo_menedzhmenta_po_sostoyaniyu_na_01.01.2020_go

The meeting delegates noted that the monitoring performance of universities and other organisations is taken into account in making funding allocation decisions.

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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