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.

St Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov shared the plans of the St Petersburg Government to construct a new metro line. One of the stations will be located on the newly developed territory of St Petersburg University.

2. Preparations for the new academic year

Preparations for the new academic year are underway. Teachers have completed self-registration for their academic subjects (applications for classes in the academic year 2020/2021 were submitted via ‘Teaching at St Petersburg University’ platform of the ‘Learning’ information system). Self-registration results were reported by members of the academic and teaching staff, heads of departments, heads of academic programmes, directors of institutes and faculty deans. Staff of the Academic Programmes Division are now issuing mandates to teachers and drafting the timetable. They are facing a challenge to issue mandates for 120,696 positions covering all academic subjects within the 2020-2021 curricula for all academic programmes. Only 5,324 positions were left unattended by the day of the meeting (roughly 4.5% teaching mandates). The staff of the Academic Programmes Division, directors and deans are handling these positions efficiently. Many of them are already assigned to teachers.

The pace of work has almost doubled compared with last year. The University is considering outsourcing part-time workers, recruiting independent teachers under civil law agreements, or inviting teachers from other University teams. The majority of directors and deans presented suggestions regarding outsourced adjunct teachers. It was noted that entering into civil law agreements takes a longer time because such contracts must be approved by the University Contract Service. Therefore, directors and deans were tasked to present relevant information to the Human Resources Department.

The participants of the meeting emphasised that this year’s workload has doubled. The university has to follow through the two versions of the academic timetable at the same time: for online / remote and offline classes. Notably, the list of teachers working online and offline may not be the same.

3. Admission to St Petersburg University

On 17 July admission to comprehensive degree programmes (Academic Gymnasium named after Dmitry Faddeev) was concluded. Some 1,000 applications were submitted (same as in 2019). Despite challenging epidemiological conditions, the number of applicants remained at last year's level. This suggests that the University’s comprehensive degree programmes are in high demand. It is worth saying that for the first time ever this year’s admission test was a competitive selection of documents (portfolios). Last year, admission exams included Russian, mathematics, and subjects of major interest. They were held in classrooms in St Petersburg. This year, however, admission tests are being held remotely based on competitive selection of applicants’ portfolios. Once admission results are available, the efficiency of such remote admission tests for comprehensive degree programmes will be investigated.

On 20 July admission to master's programmes was concluded. Over 13,000 applications were submitted (by over 6,000 applicants). Last year the number of applicants to master’s programmes stood at some 5,000.

Admission to bachelor’s / specialist’s programmes, vocational degree programmes, aspirantura  and clinical residency programmes is still going on (deadlines were postponed by the Order of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation due to delayed Unified State Exams). 31 July is the last day to apply to aspirantura  programmes. Applications to clinical residency programmes and vocational degree programmes are accepted until 11 August and 15 August respectively.

4. Military training exercises are over

In compliance with the Order of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, from 15 June to 18 July students on military reserve duty were in training at the St Petersburg University military camp.

As far back as in May there had been widespread appeals to the University administration from students and their parents to allow those students who were not prepared to undergo military training in June to postpone it until next year. The Rector had made such a request to the leadership of the Ministry of Defence.  After some negotiations, he received consent: the Ministry agreed to allow all St Petersburg University students who were supposed to go through military training this year to do so next year.  All students were informed about such an option (Military training exercises in 2020), but so far not one student has taken advantage of this opportunity.

It was reported earlier (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 22 June 2020), that there were 130 St Petersburg students who were in training at the Luga military camp in Leningrad region. Before leaving, they all underwent testing for coronavirus and received negative results.  Upon arrival at the camp, they were retested (first in the military doctor’s office and later in Rospotrebnadzor laboratory), and five of them came up positive.

The command of the military base decided to send the five students to the Luzhsky Military Hospital. The other students, who had had contact with them, were being quarantined in the military compound. Later nine more students came up positive for coronavirus. They were admitted to the Luzhsky Military Hospital too. After 14 days in hospital, they were given another test for coronavirus.

Now all of them feel fine. All students did well in military training exercises and passed the final exam.

5. Organisation of practical training

Arrangements for practical training opportunities in summer have been discussed intensively since March. Many directors and deans were inventive enough to either arrange practical training in remote format, or to find alternative solutions, or to postpone it until later in the academic year. Students of history, earth sciences / geography, and biology had to face exceptional challenges. For them fieldwork study visits to other regions of Russia are a regular tradition. This year, however, due to the pandemic, practical training in the summer was not an easy issue to solve.

The meeting participants addressed Directors of the Institute of History and the Institute of Earth Sciences, as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Biology to suggest formats for practical training during the summer before 23 July. Currently, the leadership has jointly decided to postpone some fieldwork study visits until later, as well as to transfer some other practical training classes into remote format. At present, due to the epidemiological setting and regulatory constraints, it is not possible to host classes for groups in the traditional format.

6. St Petersburg University launched a student survey

On 3 July a traditional student survey was launched to assess the quality of education at St Petersburg University. The survey is hosted on the platform of the University Centre for Sociological and Internet Research. The questions have been designed by University experts including sociologists, psychologists and political scientists. This year traditional questions were expanded with new questions on remote learning. Questions were sent to students’ corporate e-mails. They are also available by the link on the University website.

The results of this particular student survey will be further considered by directors of institutes, faculty deans, and staff of the Head Office for Academic Affairs and the Personnel Department.

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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