- Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, is the winner of the Nika Film Award
- Meeting of the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees
- Cooperation Agreement between St Petersburg University and Sberbank
- St Petersburg University Strategic Plan until 2030 Approved
- Current issues related to the organisation of the teaching and learning process
- St Petersburg University online school
- Personnel competition to accompany a world-class international centre
- Accessibility of the St Petersburg University portal for people with special health needs
1. Nika Film Award winner – Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University
Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor in the Department of Film and TV Artist Skills at
St Petersburg University, Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation, won the Nika Film Award in the category ‘Best Work of an Artist. 2020’ for his work as a production designer on the film ‘The Silver Skates’. (Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, won the Nika Film Award). Aleksandr Zagoskin is a member of the Union of Artists and the Union of Cinematographers, winner of the Golden Eagle and TEFI awards.
It was noted at the meeting that Nina and Anna Kudriavtsevas, graduates of St Petersburg University Department of Film and TV Artist Skills, worked on the film ‘The Silver Skates’ under the guidance of Associate Professor Aleksandr Zagoskin. In March, the University held an open meeting between Aleksandr Zagoskin and University students, during which he discussed the secrets of the artistic realisation of the film ‘The Silver Skates’. Professor Uralov suggested organising a master class by Associate Professor Aleksandr Zagoskin for University students.
2. Meeting of the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees
On 26 April, a meeting of the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees was held under the leadership of Board Chairman Dmitry Medvedev. The issue of the St Petersburg University development territory and the science and technology valley was discussed (Video). The Rector of St Petersburg University, Nikolay Kropachev, and the Governor of St Petersburg, Alexander Beglov, made speeches.
At the Rector's meeting, the successful activity of the ‘Science’, ‘Education’ and other working groups was noted. 1091 proposals on the project of the territory for the development of St Petersburg University were submitted by University students; more than 70% of the proposals were taken into account during the work on the project. The project work will be completed by the end of 2021.
3. Cooperation Agreement between St Petersburg University and Sberbank
It has already been reported that during the visit to St Petersburg University of Chairman of the Board and CEO of Sberbank, Herman Gref, St Petersburg University and Sberbank signed an agreement on cooperation for the joint implementation of educational, scientific, and information projects (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 26 April 2021).
When asked by University students why the administration of St Petersburg University proposed to Sberbank to support projects of specific scientists and professors, Rector Nikolay Kropachev explained that the draft agreement had been under preparation for almost six months. Back in 2020, at Sberbank's request, full information was provided on the scientific, educational, and expert activities of St Petersburg University. After that, a working group of Sber employees selected projects that Sberbank was ready to support, including: a joint academic programme in pedagogy for the development of a personal approach to teaching school students; joint initiatives in the field of artificial intelligence and cognitive research; and assistance in the restoration of the St Petersburg University Botanical Garden.
4. St Petersburg University Strategic Plan to 2030 Approved
On 26 April, the Government of the Russian Federation (RF) issued decree No 1069-r on approval of the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan to 2030. This year, the
Russian budget allocated 1.3 billion roubles for its implementation. These funds have been in the accounts of St Petersburg University since mid-December 2020, but they could not be spent before the University Strategic Plan was approved.
It is known that on 10 June 2020, the RF Government Office held a meeting with the heads of institutions subordinated to the RF Government at which the Higher School of
Economics, which by that time had already prepared its draft development programme, was cited as an example. In this connection, the minutes of the above meeting No OK-P8-10pr instructed the government agencies to elaborate strategic plans by 20 September 2020, with the account of the updated national development goals of the Russian Federation (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 15 June 2020).
On 31 August 2020, the St Petersburg University Academic Council heard a report on the implementation of the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan to 2020 and presented a draft of a new St Petersburg University Strategic Plan for 2021–2030. (Proceedings of the Academic Council Session dated 31 August 2020). The project has been repeatedly discussed at various University platforms, and more than 100 constructive suggestions for its improvement have been received from University students and staff. After the draft was reviewed at a meeting of the St Petersburg University Academic Council, it was sent for approval to the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Ministry of Health of Russia. After all the departmental approvals had been received, the Ministry of Education and Science submitted the draft St Petersburg University Strategic Plan to 2030 to the Russian Government for approval.
The University did a tremendous amount of work on the draft Strategic Plan, in which all of its employees were involved. Everyone had the opportunity to make suggestions. Now the University community has the opportunity to ensure that the indicators of the new St Petersburg University Strategic Plan for 2021–2030 approved by the Russian government will be met in 2021.
So far, St Petersburg University is the only government-affiliated institution whose strategic plan has been approved by the Russian Government; neither Moscow State University, nor the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), nor the Higher School of Economics have their own plans approved yet.
5. Current issues related to the organisation of the teaching and learning process
Over the past period, the Virtual Reception received 53 enquiries from students and faculty
(including 20 questions of an educational and methodological nature) to the Senior ViceRector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods, and 31 enquiries were sent to the Vice-Rector by e-mail.
Enquiries were related to various subjects: the format of testing; expulsion procedure; the format of the state final assessment; the learning schedule from 1 to 10 May; the possibility of changing the theme of graduation project and research work; the transfer and reinstatement procedures; the registration of academic leave; the test in the elective course ‘English Language’; the information in the diploma of professional retraining; re-crediting of courses; technical failure at written exams; online course in Health and Safety; the format of the state final assessment in ‘Philology’ and ‘Linguistics’; proctoring during tests; defence of graduation projects in ‘Journalism’; and six appeals against the results of the exam of the elective course ‘Master Class in Arbitration Procedure. Practical Training Session’.
Timely responses to all enquiries have been prepared by officials, heads of various services of the University, and heads of academic and research departments.
Detailed explanations were given on the most topical issues. It was noted that a group of master's students in journalism addressed the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods with a request to conduct the defence of the graduation project in the in-person (offline) format in compliance with the appropriate anti-epidemic norms. The petitioners also noted the need to organise the graduation project defence procedure for foreign students from China, Uzbekistan, and other countries with the help of videoconferencing means, since entry to Russia from these countries is still restricted.
The answer to the petitioners was given based on proposals by the Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications Anatoly Puyu. Due to the need to comply with antiepidemic measures, the educational process for students in the field of ‘Journalism’ in the current spring semester of the academic year 2020/21 was organised with the use of information and communication technologies. Accordingly, the same format is used for the intermediate and final state attestation in ‘Journalism’. At the same time, all the students will have the opportunity to use computer equipment in well-equipped classrooms at St Petersburg University to participate in the state final assessment.
Appeals were received from seven master's degree students of jurisprudence regarding the results of the examinations conducted by the examination board for the elective course ‘Master Class in Arbitration Procedure. Practical Training Session’. The students thought that the faculty violated the methodology of evaluation and the procedure of intermediate certification. The explanations of the faculty, members of the committee, contain a detailed argumentation of assessment of students' work in accordance with the methodology. The faculty position deserves support. An inspection has not revealed any procedural violations. In the near future replies shall be sent to all student petitioners.
A complaint was received from an economics student requesting an investigation into possible violations during the re-examination in Corporate Economics. An inspection has been organised and a request for clarification has been sent to the Chairman of the Examination Committee.
A group of philology students requested to conduct classes and interim assessment with the help of information and communication technologies (ICT). The Acting Dean of the Faculty of Philology Vladimir Kazakov proposed to satisfy the students' request.
The decision will be reflected in the group schedule and the applicants will receive an appropriate response.
Traditionally in the session period, there are questions from the students on the passing of attestation in courses taught in the online format. The most common of these are:
- establishing the reasons for negative proctoring
- problems with accessing the final test
- problems with the equipment used (no camera connected, no video, etc.) - failures in the testing process (e.g. sudden interruption of the exam) etc.
These queries are often due to: technical problems caused by slow internet connections; students not meeting the minimum technical requirements of the Examus platform; or students not following the test procedure themselves.
Foreign students in China have particular difficulties in taking the final tests due to the Internet content filtering system in China.
At the Rector's meeting, the attention of students was once again drawn to the instructions on passing the certification for online courses. These are sent in advance and must be followed. They were reminded of the need to comply with the requirements of the platform and the proctoring system.
For example, information on setting up and equipping the workplace, including the minimum technical requirements for computer equipment and room requirements (light levels, absence of foreign objects, etc.), is sent to learners in advance, at least one day before the final test in the online course. Also, just before the start of the online course assessment, a student must read and agree to the rules of the final test using the Examus proctoring system on the start page, which is confirmed by clicking the appropriate button. The rules for taking a test at Examus are also posted on the Open Education platform and are available to the learner from the start of the course.
Thus, it is the learner's responsibility to study the rules of the final assessment of the online course using the Examus proctoring system, and they can also check in advance whether the equipment is in good order and make a test connection to minimise technical failures while taking the final test.
According to most of the heads of academic subdivisions research units, the training is proceeding normally, according to the schedule – with the help of information and communication technologies and in a mixed format. Emerging problems are solved in the due order.
The senior international relations students have once again requested to cancel the state examination. A detailed response that there are currently no grounds for the cancellation of the state examination has already been given and posted in the Virtual Reception of St Petersburg University. However, the students' concerns were thoroughly analysed and discussed on 26 and 28 April at meetings of the Dean of the School with the heads of the Departments, and at meetings with graduating students and the activists of the Student Council. In total, more than 150 students participated in these meetings.
Directors and deans reported on the meetings with student representatives. The following issues were discussed: the state exams; the measures to be taken to prepare the final year students for the state exams; the exhibition of the students' works; the organisation of catering; and the proposals for increasing the number of classes in the classroom. Some heads of academic units did not hold meetings with the student councils during the past week.
6. St Petersburg University online school
Since 2018, St Petersburg University has been implementing a unique educational project ‘Online School’, in the framework of which foreign students study remotely in Russian school programmes on a free-of-charge basis. The idea of the project emerged due to the limited possibilities to receive education in Russian in the Baltic countries. In the first academic year, 70 pupils of 11–12 grades from Riga, Daugavpils, Rēzekne, and Jurmala (Latvia) attended the lessons. Classes were held in three subjects: Russian language, literature, and Russian history.
In the 2019/20 academic year, in addition to Latvia, classes were held in Estonia, Kazakhstan, and Spain. In that academic year, the number of participants in the St Petersburg University online school increased to 150.
In the academic year 2020/21, St Petersburg University is also conducting classes for schoolchildren in grades 6–12. The geography of the project has expanded to six countries (Latvia, Estonia, Spain, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan) and the number of trainees has increased to 1,400 (the number has increased 20-fold compared to 2018): More than 1,000 foreign students have started their studies as part of the St Petersburg University Online School project). The range of subjects has also been expanded to nine subjects, including social studies, biology, physics, geography, history, Russian, literature, mathematics, and chemistry.
Classes, as in previous years, run every Saturday from October to May. The last class of the year is scheduled for 29 May. Recordings of all the lessons are available to the public on a dedicated Youtube channel (Presentation).
This project is run by the staff of the Language Testing Centre and involves St Petersburg University faculty teaching at the Dmitry Faddeev Academic Gymnasium. The project is financed from the St Petersburg University funds earned by language testing.
7. Personnel competition to accompany a world-class international centre
To accompany the project ‘World-class centre – Euler International Mathematical Institute’ (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 9 September 2019) A staff competition will be announced at St Petersburg University in the near future to recruit a specialist for the Research Support Service. The meeting drew attention to the main requirements for the candidate: friendliness, learning ability, proper goal setting, and focus on achieving results. A representative of the team of the Euler International Mathematical Institute will be included in the competition committee to consider candidates for this position, if willing.
8. Accessibility of the St Petersburg University portal for people with special health needs
Article 29 of the Federal Law ‘On Education in the Russian Federation’ stipulates that an educational organisation shall create open and publicly accessible information resources containing information about its activities. One of such resources is the website of St Petersburg University (spbu.ru). In addition to the Federal Law 'On Education in the
Russian Federation', the structure of mandatory information is outlined in Rosobrnadzor Order No 831 dated 14 August 2020 and in the methodological recommendations. Among others, they include a mandatory requirement for the website to have a version for the visually impaired.
The website of St Petersburg University has a version for the visually impaired, which can be accessed by clicking on the button with the same name at the bottom of the page. It provides for changing the font size, background colour, and letter spacing.
As part of the activities of the federal project ‘Personnel for the Digital Economy’ of the national programme ‘Digital Economy of the Russian Federation’, the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation carried out work to analyse the accessibility of the modern digital learning environment (DLE) for people with special needs. As a result of this analysis, recommendations were developed and sent in 2020, one of which was the need to adapt the website of the M Gorky Scientific Library for people with special needs and to place information on the availability of accessible equipment for people with special needs on it.
In April the M Gorky Scientific Library website was converted to a corporate template with a version for the visually impaired and the necessary information for people with special needs was published. This information is also available in the sub-section ‘Accessible Environment’ at the St Petersburg University website.
- St Petersburg University Charter
- State Accreditation Certificate
- Academic Regulations
- Educational Standards
- Law No 259 FZ ‘On Lomonosov Moscow State University and St Petersburg University’
- St Petersburg University Strategic Plan for 2021 – 2030
- University Student and Staff Code of Conduct