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.
The first conference session covered the issues of political cooperation between our countries over the last 30 years. The second session was dedicated to economic, social and cultural cooperation.
2. The session of the State Duma of the Russian Federation dedicated to increasing the efficiency of implementing sponsored education and sponsored admission
On 9 November 2020, there will be a session of the working group of the State Duma of Russia on increasing the efficiency of implementing sponsored education and sponsored admission.
The meeting discussed the stand of the University towards the proposals of Irina Yarovaya, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of Russia, aimed at increasing the openness and effectiveness of sponsored admission to the universities of the Russian Federation. Nikolay Kropachev, the Rector of St Petersburg University, will take part in the working group session on generating proposals on the ways to improve the education system structure with regard to professional education levels, and increase the effectiveness of implementing sponsored education and sponsored admission. He will support the proposals for providing open and competitive sponsored admission, and encouraging responsibility on the part of sponsored admission customers and universities.
3. Organisation of the teaching process
The participants of the meeting traditionally discussed the enquiries on teaching and learning issues submitted through the Virtual Reception, and compliance with the safety requirements.
On 5 November 2020, the University received an enquiry signed by St Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov requesting the rectors of the universities in St Petersburg to organise teaching and learning process in the online mode for the maximum number of students and arrange for the interim examination period with the use of technologies for distance education.
In this regard Nikolay Kropachev, the Rector of St Petersburg University, reminded that the University is prepared for this solution in terms of administration and technology. The directors of institutes and the deans of faculties actively participated in the discussion of the enquiry by St Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov including the following: Anatoly Puyu, Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Elena Kazakova, Director of the Institute of Pedagogy; Alexey Rodionov, Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Asian and African Studies; Alla Shaboltas, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology; Kirill Chistyakov, Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences; Iurii Guzov, First Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Economics; Tatiana Chernigovskaya, Director of the Institute for Cognitive Studies; Sergei Dudnik, Director of the Institute of Philosophy; Aleksandr Kurochkin, Dean of the Faculty of Political Science; Sergei Ivanov, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science; Iurii Asochakov, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Sociology; Svetlana Rubtsova, Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages; Tatiana Bogdanova, Deputy Director of the Medical College; and Sergei Belov, Dean of the Faculty of Law.
Everyone agreed that the schedule changes should apply to the remaining academic period, and that all groups of each bachelor’s programme year and all groups of each master’s programme year should have the same format of training in the schedule. The Rector instructed Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods Marina Lavrikova to introduce relevant changes into the academic schedule based on the proposals from the directors of institutes and the deans of faculties.
A number of other issues were raised and resolved in the course of the discussion. It was emphasised that the University facilities will be available for practical classes, laboratory sessions, and scientific research activities. The teachers are allowed to come to the University facilities to conduct online classes, including University buildings located near their homes, apart from the buildings where they have their regular work desks. The Scientific Library and its sectors will work as usual. The equipment of the Research Park will be available for research purposes including researchers (for grant-related activities) and students (to work on term papers and graduation projects). If students decide to leave their hall of residence for the period of distance learning, their rooms will be reserved for them.
Deputy Rector for Legal Affairs Yury Penov reported that the Governor of St Petersburg issued several orders related to the aggravation of the epidemiological situation including the ban on holding public events with over 70 participants.
It was noted at the meeting that all students and teachers should follow the academic timetables as previously.
4. The format of winter examination period
Senior Vice-Rector Elena Chernova reported that the University is purchasing equipment to conduct the end-of-semester assessment in the online format. Within two weeks, the schedule should be made and the assessment format for every programme and every discipline should be defined. The schedule of transfer to the online mode should be formed for each academic discipline as soon as possible.
The directors and deans have been instructed to provide their proposals on conducting every test and every examination during the winter examination period within two weeks.
5. Resettlement of students in the halls of residence remains to be suspended
In spring, St Petersburg University issued an order on suspending the resettlement of students in the halls of residence. It was assumed that in October we would be able to resume the resettlement as in previous years. The aggravation of the sanitary-and-epidemiological situation does not allow for that currently. The resettlement of 1,000 students (an average monthly norm in previous years) will result in 4,000 additional contacts, each of them increasing the risk of infection. That is why the order on the suspension of resettlement remains in effect.
6. Internet in the halls of residence. Are you looking for improvements?
The students continue submitting enquiries to the Virtual Reception with questions about ‘poor’ Internet connection in the halls of residence. It was explained in the meeting that all halls of residence of the University have cable Internet access provided by the University. This is high-speed Internet of good quality. However, some students install Wi-Fi routers and independently share Internet with their neighbours. The quality of such signal can be different. Some students get the signal from other communication service providers. The University is not responsible for the quality of such Internet connection and cannot be held accountable for it. The solution is simple: every student can enter into an agreement with the University and connect to Internet via cable.
7. Online school of the University for Russian-speaking school students
On behalf of the Rector, already for two years University employees, teachers and representatives of various services of the Rector’s office have been running the Online School of St Petersburg University. In the school, academic staff hold online classes on the Russian language, literature and history with school students from different countries. Two years ago, this project was launched for Russian-speaking school students from Latvia and Estonia. As of today, it is also running in Spain, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kirgizia. During the first year, there were only about 150 to 200 students, whereas today over 1,000 school students from the 6th to 9th grade have applied to the Online School within one week in Latvia alone. (St Petersburg University helps fellow-countrymen, How St Petersburg University helps fellow-countrymen , St Petersburg University has organised an online-school for the children of fellow-countrymen, How St Petersburg University helps fellow-countrymen).
The meeting underscored not only the University’s important mission to spread the Russian language and culture among foreign school students, but also a possibility to promote the University’s educational programmes among international applicants.
8. ‘Alma Mater – the Architectural Aspect of St Petersburg University’ album and online-tour around the Mansion of Baron Kelch
A colourful album called ‘Alma Mater – the Architectural Aspect of St Petersburg University’ has been published. This is the third book from the Collection of Knowledge series. The album presentation will be held on 4 December 2020.
St Petersburg University has launched an online-tour around the architectural monument of the 18th century – the Mansion of Baron Kelch, a University building located at 28 Chaikovskogo Street. The virtual tour is supported by brief texts and a special map that facilitate navigation around the halls of the old mansion. (St Petersburg University opens a virtual tour of the Kelch mansion).
It was noted that this is already the 9th online tour in the territory of the University. Other online tours include a tour around the Modern Sculpture Park, the Twelve Collegia Building, University’s building at No 7 on the 22nd Line, as well as the Mendeleev Museum, the Vladimir Nabokov Museum, the places of Alexander Blok at St Petersburg University and the Bobrinsky Palace.
9. From Nature to the medical clinic
Vice-Rector for Research Sergey Mikushev reported that Professor Pavel Musienko, Head of the Laboratory of Neuroprosthetics at the Institute of Translational Biomedicine of St Petersburg University, has published an article in Nature Biomedical Engineering journal (Scientists developed a technology for printing personalised neuroprostheses on a 3Dbioprinter). It is about his research on ‘Rapid prototyping of soft bioelectronic implants for use as neuromuscular interfaces’. He proposes now to translate the technology of neuroprosthetics into practical medicine by creating medical implants. Such a project requires setting up the whole production cycle, including the following: the development team; resource centre for the development of new materials; engineering centre on prototyping; vivarium; and last but not least, the clinic to carry out clinical trials. The final product will be the result of the joint work of the doctors at the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies of St Petersburg University together with the developers, materials specialists, engineers and other experts.
Sergey Mikushev assured the heads of subdivisions that the University is ready to put together production chains with the aim of translating research findings into practice in case of such initiatives.
10. Cooperation between St Petersburg University and Istanbul University
On the Rector’s behalf and within the framework of a trip to Istanbul, Professor Damir Mukhetdinov, Head of the Centre for Islamic Studies at St Petersburg University, met top officials of Istanbul University – Rector Professor Dr Mahmut Ak and Vice-Rector for International Cooperation İlyas Topsakal. In the course of the meeting they discussed prospects for joint work on the research projects of the Centre for Islamic Studies at St Petersburg University together with Turkish colleagues, as well as the expansion of collaboration in other areas. Over the past few years collaboration between the two universities has been rapidly developing
11. Joint work of the two Institutes
Director of the Institute of Pedagogy Elena Kazakova and Director of the Institute for Cognitive Studies Tatiana Chernigovskaya addressed the Rector with a proposal for organising joint work of the two institutes. Specifically, they offered to create a joint scientific committee, a joint teaching methodology committee, and joint councils of educational programmes for the two institutes. They would also arrange for the Academic Affairs Department and Human Resources Office to provide consolidated support to the educational programmes implemented on the basis of the two institutes. The goal is to use the University resources more efficiently.