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.
2. Organisation of the teaching and learning process
Over the past week, 67 enquiries were submitted to the Virtual Reception from the academic staff, students and their parents. Among the enquiries were 19 enquiries related to academic issues. Besides, 23 enquiries were submitted to the Senior Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods via the University email service. Among the enquiries were those concerning readmission and transferring, issuing notes, and technical issues relating to access to the online courses offered by the University to name but a few. Some of the enquiries were related to changing the delivery mode of lessons. Some of the enquiries contradict each other. For example, some students opt for face-to-face learning, while others ask for a distance mode of delivery. The enquiries use different registers of communication, which vary from neutral to aggressive.
Each enquiry is proceeded on a case-to-case basis and answered in due course. The Chairperson of the Teaching Methodology Committees in Arts talked with the students to explain how the learning and teaching process would be organised. When the Rector's meeting was held, we received an enquiry from the students in chemistry. They felt uncertain about how the assessment of the pass/fail test was taken. In this respect, the Senior Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods asked for the information that regulates the assessment procedure. The enquiries concerning spotting the COVID-19 cases in students or contacts of a person with a positive test result for coronavirus require specific consideration. This information is regularly monitored and provided to the administrative staff to take actions as appropriate.
All directors and deans continue to hold regular meetings with the Student Councils of the academic subdivisions. They report weekly on how the learning process is organised and what work is done with the students and Student Councils. For example, it was reported to a director that two students were self-isolating for 14 days in the hall of residence. The students had concerns about missing the laboratory classes. They were informed that self-isolating was a genuine reason for missing classes. The administrative staff took every action to make sure that students were able to cover the missed classes. They could also move to distance learning where possible.
There are a number of enquiries submitted by students to the Virtual Reception relating to attending the courses offered within other academic programmes via distance learning (Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 30 September 2020). Students should apply to the head of the relevant academic office, and they will be given such an opportunity if technologies allow. (Order No 798 from 04 February 2019).
3. Where to get urgent help for mental health
The University's Virtual Reception received an enquiry submitted by a student in mathematics about where to get urgent help for mental health in the Peterhof Campus. The student was not concerned about himself, but about all students who lived at the halls of residence of the University. The Dean of the Faculty of Psychology Alla Shaboltas said that the Director of the Psychological Clinic of the University got in touch with the student to get more details. The student knew that the University had been offering Psychological Clinic services for over 10 years. Yet he was concerned that those who lived in Peterhof could not get support in case of emergency as the Clinic was located in Vasilyevsky Island.
4. The work of safety audit boards at the University is still underway
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the work of the safety audit boards is still underway at the University. Twenty boards are monitoring the situation as to whether students and staff are using the personal protective equipment, including wearing a face mask, across the whole University (Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 05 October 2020). During this week, the boards inspected 137 cases as to whether the safety measures, including wearing a face mask, are followed. The number of those who fail to follow the safety measures is declining. Upon the recommendation of the chairpersons of the boards, those who fail to wear the face mask or follow the safety measures will be liable to enforcement, regardless of the position held by the offender. Five orders have been already issued, while three orders are underway. Among those who have been reprimanded are Konstantin Krotov, Head of the Graduate School of Management; Alexey Shirkin, Deputy Head of the Department for Technical Support of Educational Programmes; E. Lisin, carpenter of the REO No 2; Kostantin Lavrov, Associate Professor of the Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty; Mikhail Kruglov, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Psychology. Those who have faced disciplinary punishment have no rights for incentive payment, as a rule. If you face disciplinary punishment for the second time within a year, you might be fired.
The acts about failing to comply with the face mask regime and abide by the safety measures are forwarded to the Department for Youth Affairs. This information was discussed at the meetings of the Student Council at the University. All drafts of the orders on disciplinary action against students are discussed at the meetings of the Student Councils at the University. The Student Council may not support the recommendations forwarded by the Vice-Rectors in terms of taking disciplinary actions against students if they do not comply with the rules of study, internal regulations for students... Yet in the cases of taking actions for failing to comply with the safety measures during the pandemic, the Student Council gives its unanimous support to the recommendations of the Vice-Rectors. Five orders on taking actions on failing to comply with the law have been already issued for the following students: E. Skripkina, a first-year student in Chemistry; V. Rychkova, a first-year student in Mathematics and Mechanics; S. Kuzivanova, I. Reshetnikova, and A. Luneva, second-year students in Mathematics and Mechanics. The information on other five cases is still being discussed.
5. Heating system in the buildings of the University
In response to the enquiry summited to the Virtual Reception, the Rector's meeting focused on heat provision in the University's buildings. Heat provisions starts when the average outside temperature is below 8°C during 5 days. The heating system started to provide heat to the buildings in Peterhof on 22 September. Some of the students complained about overheating. In Vasileostrovsky, Central, and Nevsky districts (including the University's building), the heating system started to provide heat on 15 October according to the Order issued by the Committee for Energy and Engineering of St Petersburg.
6. Flu vaccination at the University
The University has agreed an on-site flu vaccination schedule at the University. The administration of Hospital No 3 allocated a limited amount of vaccines to the University. Each vaccination point has 330 vaccines. You can find the vaccination points at the 16/18, 7th Line V.O. and 20 Korablestroitelei Street. Yet only 33 members of staff and students have got vaccinated so far, while 660 were expected. Hospital No 3 no longer offers vaccination because organising on-site vaccination in such a way is not efficient (Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 30 September 2020).
The University's administration submitted a second enquiry to the City's administration to reconsider the on-site vaccination at the University. The administrative staff, academic staff and students can get on-site vaccination without having to visit the district hospitals. The mobile vaccination service will be available from 16:00 to 19:00 on 20 and 23 October. You can find it near the hall of residence at 20, Korablestroitelei Street. On 26 and 27 October, it will be operating from 10:00 to 12:30 at the University's Clinic at 35, Universitetsky Prospect. If there are many of those who are willing to get vaccinated, the mobile vaccination service will continue its work. This information has been sent to staff and students via the University email service.
7. Forming an organisation committee for preparing and celebrating the 300th anniversary of the University
According to Decree No 2960-p of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 27 December 2018, we have formed an organisation committee for preparing and celebrating the 300th anniversary of the University. The committee is to suggest and approve a plan of the main events. The University formed an organisation committee for preparing and celebrating the 300th anniversary of the University. The chairperson of the committee is Elena Chernova; the members of the committee are Olga Tulsanova, Timur Zainullin, Konstantin Kuzmin, Elena Novikova, Yury Penov, and Igor Gorlinsky. The directors of the institutes and deans of the faculties were advised to suggest those who are interested to become members of the University's programme committee for preparing and celebrating the 300th anniversary of the University.
8. Mandatory psychiatric assessment of University's staff
The previous meeting held on 12 October (Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 12 October 2020) discussed the need for additional psychiatric assessment for the staff who had already had the assessment to obtain, for example, a driving licence. The University's Rector Nikolay Kropachev submitted this question to the State Labour Inspection Service in St Petersburg. The Inspection replied that during the psychiatric assessment they look at the mental health of each person and decide whether they can perform certain functions at their workplace. During the psychiatric assessment to obtain a driving licence, the medical professionals assess your fitness to drive; while during the psychiatric assessment of academic staff they assess your fitness to teach at the University. These are two different schemes of assessment.
9. Admissions decisions on academic programmes in Management at the University
The Head of the Graduate School of Management Konstantin Krotov spoke about the admissions decisions on the academic programmes in Management at the University. This report was scheduled for the previous meeting. Yet, as the Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Admissions Aleksandr Babich put it, the report contained a great number of factual mistakes. As a result, the discussion was postponed to the next meeting.
In 2020, the number of applications to the undergraduate programmes in Management at the University increased by 64% (4,424 applications in total), while the number of students enrolled increased by 20% (276 students). The number of applications to the graduate programmes in Management at the University increased by 6% (681), while the number of international students increased by 60% (45 students). The number of applications to postgraduate studies in Management at the University increased by 1.86 (56). The number of Russian students remains the same (7 students) as it was in 2019, while the number of international students increased by 3 (12 students).
The members of the meeting said that the presentation (Presentation of the Graduate School of Management ) delivered by the Head of the Graduate School of Management Konstatnin Krotov is well-structured and audience-oriented, including the members of the board of trustees of the Graduate School of Management. The deans and directors were advised to take into consideration the experience of how the Graduate School of Management works with external organisations, the board of trustees, and mass media. Konstantin Krotov was advised to discuss this practice with the administrative staff of the academic departments.
10. How and when to submit information about what the University is engaged with
In spring, as the pandemic began, some people thought that only learning and teaching at the University had moved online. Yet the University continued to work in all spheres, including research, international cooperation, expert evaluations, medicine, sports, and maintenance. From March to October, the University held over 80 online events, including round-tables and open days to name but a few. This information was published on the University's website and other information sources.
In order to collect, process, and spread information about the events the University organises, we have developed regulations on submitting and spreading information about the University's events. Scheduling the events for the next month must be submitted by the heads of the divisions and departments to the Head of the Public Relations Department via the Electronic Document Management System ‘Delo’. If the event is held online, you are advised to include the link to the event and explain how you can register for the event and log in.
The directors and deans are advised to make suggestions as to how we can further supplement and improve the order.