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:

1. Measures to prevent COVID-19 spread

The existing self-isolation will not be lifted from 15 to 28 June 2020. Only academic staff working at Resource Centres of the University Research Parks are allowed to access the premises (but no more than 300 individuals daily) (Order No 5382/1 ‘On Measure to prevent…’ dated 13 June 2020).

2. Drafting the St Petersburg University development programme

Drafting of the St Petersburg University development programme until 2030 is in its final stage. The draft programme agreed with Russian authorities in due manner shall be presented to the Office of the Russian Federation Government by 20 September 2020.

The draft of the University development programme has been regularly discussed in different formats: at Rector’s meetings; and among members of the University Academic Board and the St Petersburg University Collegium of Honorary Professors (https://spbu.ru/openuniversity/documents/materialy-rektorskogo-soveshchaniya-418#p5). Some institutes and faculties have already prepared proposals. It should be noted that the Graduate School of Management (Director Olga Dergunova, Deputy President and Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board) and the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Dean Aleksei Kudrin, Chief of the Government Accountability Office of the Russian Federation) were the most proactive. Deans and directors were tasked to discuss the draft programme with their teams and submit proposals within two weeks.

3. Organisation of the interim assessment

The meeting delegates noted that the examination period has passed its halfway point: most tests and over half of exams are over. During the last week, Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods, received a total of 49 enquiries from students and teachers through the Virtual Reception (including 26 enquiries regarding the educational process set-up). There were questions regarding the issue of transcripts, visa and passport services for foreign students, and invigilating in online learning. The meeting delegates also focused on the proposal of a mathematical student to use invigilated interim assessment, as well as final assessment https://guestbook.spbu.ru/prorektory-spbgu/lavrikova-marina-yurevna/15565-ob-ispol-zovanii-sistemy-proktoringa-pri-provedenii-zachetov-i-ekzamenov.html. She claimed that some students demonstrate academic dishonesty (cheat) at on-line tests and exams; this is evident through a drop in the number of failures in one specific subject.

The meeting delegates noted that the University is committed to promoting fair and responsible attitudes to online learning among both students and teachers. Directors and deans were tasked to submit proposals regarding the scope of invigilating: which classes, interim and final tests, and exams require invigilating.

4. Organisation of the final assessment

During the last week: the University held 1,471 defences of graduationprojects; 212 State Examination Boards were operating; 1,137 students received ‘excellent’ grades, 294 – ‘good’, 36 – ‘satisfactory’, and 4 students failed (master students of History, Mathematics and Mechanics, Political Studies, and Economics).

During the last week, 15 appeals were submitted. One of them was satisfied: investigation found out that due to a failure, the plagiarism detection system mistakenly demonstrated an abnormal amount of inaccurate borrowings.

5. Organising the Commencement Ceremony

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Art. 108 of the Education Law has been amended, granting the legal power of the original diploma to scanned copies. All University diplomas are registered with the FRDO system (the Federal Roster of Education Documents). Employers and universities can verify original St Petersburg University diplomas by diploma identification number and graduate’s full name.

All directors and deans unanimously decided to cancel in-person commencement ceremonies, even if the ban on public events is lifted. The meeting delegates noted that over 70% of University students are non-St Petersburg residents; currently, most of them are staying outside St Petersburg and are unable to come to the city due to restrictions (some of them reported the situation to the Virtual Reception). Moreover, experts claim that the COVID-19 pandemic still remains a challenge; it is therefore not worth placing the health of graduates and teachers at high risk.

Delivery of diplomas to graduates is still pending. In the coming days, a dedicated schedule will be available to hand diplomas to graduates who are staying in the city or to deliver hard copies of diplomas (by mail) to those staying outside St Petersburg.

6. Organising competitions to recruit academic and teaching staff at St Petersburg University

Despite the current challenges, St Petersburg University is successfully running competitions to recruit academic and teaching staff without the violation of any formalities. The information about competitions, requirements and information about applicants is published on the University website for access by the public in conformity with the regulation. Relevant academic boards hold online meetings to consider applicants’ portfolios and select the winners.

Meanwhile, the Rector’s meeting noted that the transition to online learning format allowed competitors and staff to better scrutinise information submitted by applicants and available for access by the public. Questions and complaints are submitted daily to the Virtual Reception or corporate email. The type of complaints include: inaccuracies in the list of applicant’s publications; applicant’s failure to contribute to the project grant, though the applicant is formally registered as a member of the research team without actually doing any work under this project; verification of competitor’s doctoral diploma; and whether the university received the required amount of funding under the research grant, delivered by the applicant’s team. The meeting delegates noted that some other Russian universities have reported similar trends; however, this shall not impact the internal processes, since the University policies have always been ultimately transparent.

Vladimir Eremeev, Vice Rector for Human Resources, reported that the University has started to integrate the Cryptoveche e-voting system to conduct secret voting at meetings of the University Academic Board and institute or faculty academic boards (https://spbu.ru/openuniversity/documents/materialy-rektorskogo-soveshchaniya-429#p5). Academic boards of the Institute of Chemistry and the Faculty of Physics will be the first to try the e-voting system this week (on 16 June 2020).

7. Meeting of St Petersburg University Academic Board is rescheduled

Igor Gorlinsky, Vice President  of the University Academic Council, reported that the regular Academic Council  meeting scheduled for 29 June 2020 is rescheduled to 25 June 2020. The meeting is going to take place in videoconference format using integrated e-voting systems.

8. Election of the University Academic Council

On 23 September 2020, the current mandate comes to an end of the University Academic Council, elected on 21 September 2015 by the St Petersburg University Conference of academic and teaching staff, other workers, and students: (https://spbu.ru/openuniversity/documents/sostav-uchenogo-soveta-spbgu).

Therefore, a regular St Petersburg University Conference of academic and teaching staff, other workers, and students is scheduled for 21 September 2020. On 25 June 2020 the University Academic Council  is going to formulate the election procedure of the conference delegates.

The Rector’s meeting noted that academic and teaching staff have the right to nominate themselves to the University Academic Council (https://spbu.ru/news-events/krupnym-planom/osnovnye-prava-nauchno-pedagogicheskih-rabotnikov-sankt-peterburgskogo). Professor Tatiana Chernigovskaya and Professor Robert Evarestov suggested introducing extra criteria for self-nominated members of academic and teaching staff (at least seven years of teaching experience and St Petersburg University as the main employer).

9. ‘Horizon’ Healthcare Resort is shut down

The meeting delegates reported that the University had to shut down the ‘Horizon’ healthcare resort. The facility was acquired by the University in 2007 (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/dolgaya-doroga-k-gorizontu). It offered accommodation and leisure facilities to students from 1 June to 31 August.

Investigation found out that all buildings on the Horizon Resort premises (5 dormitories and refectory) were constructed in 1983 with major design flaws. Further operation of the facility could be dangerous considering: the location of the facility in an active seismic zone; the severe wear of the structure; and absence of advanced protection against fire and terrorism amid the stringent anti-epidemic requirements. The meeting delegates noted that given the pandemic, students are unlikely to arrive in summer 2020. The break-down in operation could give time to look for solutions to redesign the facility in the future. For instance, it was suggested to set-up lightweight modular structures that the University is already actively operating at other premises.

10. St Petersburg University in the QS ranking

St Petersburg University has been ranked 225 in QS World University Rankings 2021, an authoritative ranking of the world’s best universities, published by the British company Quacquarelli Symonds. The university has improved its ranking by 9 positions compared with last year (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/spbgu-vnov-podnyalsya-v-reytinge-luchshih-universitetov-mira-qs-world-university).

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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