1. Current issues of organising the teaching and learning process
  2. Format of the teaching and learning process from1 April 2021
  3. List of the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes
  4. Organising work with the online courses
  5. Applying for scholarships
  6. Strategy for the digital transformation of the University: drafting the event programme
  7. New duties of the University Academic Board
  8. Classroom-based studies delivered by academic staff who are 65 or older
  9. Enquiries submitted to be discussed by the working group formed in relation to the reorganisation of the University
  10. Vaccination of international citizens

1. Current issues of organising the teaching and learning process

Over the past week, the Virtual Reception received 22 enquiries submitted to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities  and Teaching Methods by students and academic staff, including 8 enquires relating to various educational and methodological issues, with 11 enquires submitted via the University email service addressed to the Vice-Rector. The enquiries focused on a wide range of topics, including admissions; competitions on receiving an award; rules and regulations for paying tuition fees; non-degree  programmes; academic transfer and readmission; issuing documents based on a student's personal profile; resitting an exam; status notes; compulsory health insurance for international students; crossing the borders of the Russian Federation by international students; self-isolation of the international students who have arrived for study at the University; and format of the state final assessment. All enquiries are promptly replied to in writing, with all necessary decisions being adopted.

The enquiries containing the most pressing issues are replied in detail. Last week, for example, an international master's student from Kazakhstan enquired about the possibility to organise the interim assessment by using distance learning technologies. In reply to the enquiry, it was explained that according to Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No 301 ‘Approval of the Rules and Regulations for Interim Assessment in 2020/2021 academic year...’ from 2 March 2021, the terms and conditions of the personal identification (proctoring) for the interim assessment (exams and pass/fail tests) in a distance mode would be introduced in the following year.

According to the information received from most heads of the academic and research divisions, the teaching and learning process is organised in the traditional format and follows the timetable, including classes delivered by using information and

telecommunication technologies. If any problems arise, they are settled in due manner. For example, a number of study groups of students in history once again submitted their proposals to continue to deliver classes in a distance mode. According to the decision taken by the Director of the Institute, most enquiries were followed by positive answers.

The academic staff in law reported about some technical problems they had relating to using information and telecommunication technologies when they were delivering classes. Unfortunately, more often than not this information may be received not on time. The reason is that academic staff first inform a head of the department; then the head of the department informs the dean of a faculty; after that the dean of the faculty sends a weekly report to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. Once this information is received by the Vice-Rector, it is forwarded to Sergey Sevryukov, Head of the Information Technology Service, to settle the problems. There are various reasons behind these problems. For example, when checking an enquiry that was sent directly to the Information Technology Service and received on time, it became clear that there was a problem with the computer in the classroom. The lecturer was provided with necessary assistance and the class went smoothly.

Once again, the attention was drawn to the need to timely contact the Information Technology Service and submit enquiries to other University’s services in case lecturers have problems. It is necessary to provide a prompt analysis and eliminate problems. Should any technical problems arise, you are advised to send your enquiries in the following ways:

  • via the system of registering enquiries and incidents OTRS at spbu.ru (prioritised)
  • by phone +7 (812) 363–60–30 (if you have no access to the Internet)

It was reminded that for an enquiry to be processed promptly, you are strongly advised to indicate the contact information: name, profile st..., contact phone, address of the building where the working place is located. Instructions and additional materials can be found on the University's website (contact information).

The directors and deans submitted their reports on meeting with the representatives of the student community. According to the information received from some of the heads of the academic and research divisions, there were no meetings arranged with the student councils over the last week. The meetings with the representatives from the student councils of the

Institute of History, Institute of Philosophy, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Biology, Faculty of Philology, School of International Relations, Faculty of Sociology discussed the issues relating to the teaching and learning process in April and other issues.

At the meeting, the Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts Ivan Uralov and representatives from the student council discussed the following issues: the work of the commission that is responsible to discuss the applications to receive an increased monthly allowance; an enquiry submitted by the students in Vocal Art relating to a non-delivery of classes on 16 March 2021 at 6, Birzhevaya Line. The inspection revealed that the classes within the academic programme Vocal Art and the University’s choir rehearsals were held approximately at the same time in the adjusting rooms, i.e. Room 206 and Room 207 at 6a, Birzhevaya Line. There is no sound isolation between these rooms and therefore it is not possible to deliver classes simultaneously. To settle the problem, it was decided to move classes of the academic programme Vocal Art from the Room 206a to the Assembly Hall of the Twelve Collegia building that had all necessary requirements.

At the meeting, the Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Physics Aleksey Titov and representatives of the student council discussed the issues relating to preparation for the state accreditation and issues relating to opening dining areas. The issue relating to opening a dining area for students and staff at 3, Ulianovskaya Street was discussed with the Head of the University’s Office for Dining and Food Services. Taking into consideration the number of face-to-face classes and attendance of students and staff, the Head of the University's Office for Dining and Food Services Svetlana Shingireeva adopted a decision to open a dining area that would start to operate from 23 March 2021 with working hours from Monday to Friday.

2. Format of the teaching and learning process from 1 April 2021

The Directors of the Institutes and Deans of the Faculties submitted their proposals on the learning format from 1 April 2021. Most heads of the academic and research divisions (24 out of 30) suppose that it is necessary to deliver classes in a blended format by combining face-to-face classes and classes delivered by using information and telecommunication technologies. The heads of the Institute of Philosophy, Institute of Pedagogy, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Faculty of Psychology, Faculty of Foreign Languages, and Faculty of Economics decided to deliver classes only by using information and telecommunication technologies.

General information on the submitted proposals in the table below:

No

Academic and research division

Current learning format

Learning format from 1 April 2021

Decision adopted by the

Senior Vice-

Rector for

Academic

Activities and

Teaching

Methods

1.

Institute of

Chemistry

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

blended format

blended format

2.

Institute of Philosophy

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

No

Academic and research division

Current learning format

Learning format from 1 April 2021

Decision adopted by the

Senior Vice-

Rector for

Academic

Activities and

Teaching

Methods

3.

School of

Journalism and Mass

Communication s

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

4.

Institute of

Antimonopoly

Management

blended format

blended format

blended format

5.

Institute of

Pedagogy

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

6.

Institute of

Cognitive

Studies

blended format

blended format

blended format

7.

Faculty of Law

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

blended format

blended format

8.

Faculty of Arts

blended format

blended format

blended format

9.

Institute of History

blended format

blended format

blended format

10.

Graduate

School of

Management

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

blended format

blended format

11.

Faculty of

Mathematics and Computer

Sciences

blended format

blended format

blended format

No

Academic and research division

Current learning format

Learning format from 1 April 2021

Decision adopted by the

Senior Vice-

Rector for

Academic

Activities and

Teaching

Methods

12.

Faculty of Physics

blended format

blended format

blended format

13.

Faculty of

Liberal Arts and

Sciences

blended format

blended format

blended format

14.

Faculty of Political Science

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

blended format

blended format

15.

Faculty of Economics

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

16.

School  of

International Relations

blended format

blended format

blended format

17.

Faculty of

Applied

Mathematics and Control

Processes

blended format

blended format

blended format

18.

Faculty of Asian and African

Studies

blended format

blended format

blended format

19.

Mathematics and Mechanics

Faculty

blended format

blended format

blended format

20.

Faculty of

Foreign

Languages

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

No

Academic and research division

Current learning format

Learning format from 1 April 2021

Decision adopted by the

Senior Vice-

Rector for

Academic

Activities and

Teaching

Methods

21.

Faculty of Sociology

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

blended format

blended format

22.

Faculty of Biology

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

blended format

blended format

23.

Institute of Earth Sciences

blended format

blended format

blended format

24.

Faculty of

Psychology

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

25.

Faculty of

Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies

blended format

blended format

blended format

26.

Faculty of Medicine

blended format

blended format

blended format

27.

Faculty of Philology

by using

information and

telecommunicatio n technologies

before 15 April 2021 - by using information and

telecommunicatio n technologies;

from 15 April 2021

- blended format;

before 15 April 2021 - by using information and

telecommunicatio n technologies;

from 15 April 2021

- blended format;

28.

Bachelor's studies in

Physical

Training

Department of Physical

blended format

blended format

blended format

No

Academic and research division

Current learning format

Learning format from 1 April 2021

Decision adopted by the

Senior Vice-

Rector for

Academic

Activities and

Teaching

Methods

 

Training and Sports

     

29.

College of

Physical

Training and

Sports,

Economics, and Technology

blended format

blended format

blended format

30.

College of Medicine

blended format

blended format

blended format

Further information on the learning format from 1 April 2021 can be found in the electronic timetable. Please note that the learning format is subject to change. Information about all changes is sent beforehand and can be found in the electronic timetable.

3. List of the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes

In order to organise control and monitoring of the quality of education at the University and to implement the plan of actions to hold the events within the internal independent assessment of education quality in September 2020, there was approved a list of the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes (Order No 1708/1 ‘On Approval of the list of the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes and calculating methods’ dated  11 March 2021). The list

of the planned indicators was formed after being discussed with academic staff, administrative staff, members of the teaching methodology committees, programme councils, student councils, and other external persons involved.

The criteria and indicators of the quality presented in the list meet the following requirements that were formulated during the discussions:

  • correlation with the indicators included in the Russia-wide reporting and monitoring schemes for higher education institutions and the indicators that are approved by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and define allocating admission quotas, allocating grants, amount of funding etc.
  • reflection of the most prioritised aims of the national educational policy and the University’s educational policy (indicators of the national projects in education, the University Strategic Plan etc.)
  • taking into consideration the internal and world's league tables
  • focus on the standards that are set for the state-members of the Bologna Process (ESG) and criteria applied in organising state accreditation of education in the Russian Federation

The further step toward forming the internal system of controlling and monitoring the education quality is calculating methods for the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes at the University to set annual planned indicators of how they were achieved (Order of the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods  No 1708/1 ‘On Approval of the list of the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes and calculating methods’ dated 11 March 2021).

The chairpersons and members of the teaching methodology committees were actively engaged in drafting the order. Summarising the proposals and recommendations submitted by the teaching methodology committees resulted in revealing general tendencies that were incorporated into the final version of calculating the methods of the indicators and their planned indicators.

In order to take into account the specificity and variety of fields of study, the planned indicators and calculating methods are divided into two groups.

The first group comprises the indicators and calculating methods that reflect the requirements of the local acts of the University and therefore are strictly connected to the indicators of the relevant acts (e.g. the indicators of the University Strategic Plan; indicators of research monitoring schemes for higher education institutions by the Ministries; admissions results; independent assessment of education quality; indicators of the annual reports of higher education institutions etc.). The table of the indicators features the relevant links to the source of indicators and calculating methods.

The second group refers to the indicators and calculating methods based on the assessment report of the teaching methodology committees of the enlarged groups of fields of study. They are associated with the indicators that reflect the specificity of each field of study. Calculating the value of these indicators is based on the expert opinion of the teaching methodology committee, specificity of the academic programme and experience of how the programme has been implemented. This concerns such indicators as ‘The share of disciplines of the academic programme taught with the use of the virtual and augmented reality, simulators, exercisers, virtual laboratories, adaptive training complexes’; ‘The share of students pursuing the academic programme who have educational, professional and research achievements in their portfolio of personal achievements that correspond to the direction / specialty of the academic programme (participation in international research conferences, grants and other forms of research activity within the professional scope of the programme)’; ‘The share of teaching staff of the academic programme teaching classes using EIOS (Electronic Informational Educational Environment) and distance learning technologies, including online courses’; and others.

The analysis of the proposals submitted by the teaching methodology committees revealed that some recommendations only added or clarified the indicators without changing their focus and quality. In particular, there was a proposal to add a line ‘the head of the grant from the Russian Science Foundation’ to the indicator 3.1.2. ‘The share of teaching staff of the academic programme whose portfolio of personal achievements features outstanding achievements in pedagogics and profession (government awards, prizes, titles, mega-grants, victories in national, including intra-university, and international competitions, etc.)’; or add a line ‘within the scope of the grants’ to the indicator 5.3.1. ‘The share of graduation projects of the academic programme during the last three years prepared at the request of the employers’. In order to take into account such proposals to amend the approved indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes, it was necessary to amend the order. It was decided to unite calculating methods of the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes and amended list of the indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes at the University as annexes to the order.

Further development of controlling and monitoring schemes of education quality implies monitoring the correspondence between the actual indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes and the planned indicators. The relevant proposals are currently being discussed to implement the order. Today, the University has already opened the Centre for Monitoring the Quality of Education. The Centre is a proper foundation for carrying out the monitoring procedures. The Centre will also focus on surveying and investigating opinions to ensure the quality of education. Additionally, it will also collect, analyse, and store monitoring data, including the data on fulfilling the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes. Yet, apart from the Centre, monitoring and controlling of how the indicators are fulfilled will engage other University’s divisions and departments. They will provide information to calculate the planned and actual indicators within their scope of responsibilities (Admissions Directorate, Research Support Service, Educational Programmes Department, Academic Affairs Department etc.).

4. Organising work with the online courses

Despite the pandemic and self-isolation introduced in spring in 2020, developing online courses was in a regular mode. In 2020, the performance plan included 69 topics for developing online courses, with 87 new online courses being developed and launched within these topics in different languages (the planned indicators were 30 up to 35 online courses per year). An analysis of working with the online courses in 2020 was performed.

The University has won the competition of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science of the Russian Federation. Within the grant, four online courses were developed. They focus on agrobiotechnologies and have had over 14,000 students.

The position of the University on leading educational platforms (updated 18 February 2021):

  • Open Education - ranked first (148 online courses)
  • Coursera - ranked first in Europe, ranked third in the world (137 online courses, 10 specialities)
  • XuetangX - ranked first, the only university in Russia (10 online courses)

On the national platform ‘Open Education’, the University has launched 148 open online courses (out of 693 available on the platform), with over 1.7 million students (ranked first in terms of the number of courses and students).

On Coursera.org, the University offers 137 online courses and 10 specialities, with the total student number being over 650,000. In Europe, the University is ranked first in terms of the number of online courses on Coursera. Globally, the University is among the three leading universities-partners of Coursera.

Statistics of online courses offered by the University on Coursera (updated 18 February 2021):

No

Higher Education Institution

Number of courses

1

Google Cloud (USA)

215

2

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, UIUC (USA)

149

3

St Petersburg University

137

Johns Hopkins University (USA)

137

On the platform Stepik, the University offers five online courses, with over 35,000 students. The University is the first Russian university that has launched its courses on the Chinese platform XuetangX. Today, the University offers 10 online courses. At the end of 2020, the overall number of students was 23,000. In December 2020, the University became the only Russian university that was co-founder of the Global MOOC Alliance.

In the end of 2020, Class Central, i.e. a listing of the online courses that aggregates MOOCs, analyses the trends in the massive open online courses and statistical data, published the top 100 most popular online courses on the largest platforms worldwide (Coursera, edX, FutureLearn). Among these courses were two courses developed by the University: Neurolinguistics (the head of the team is Professor Tatiana Chernigovskaya, ranked 29) and Japanese for Beginners (the head of the team is Professor Inga Ibrakhim, ranked 31).

The rankings ‘The most popular online courses in countries in 2020’ that are published by Coursera, feature the University’s online course in Neurolinguistics in the top 10 courses. It is the most popular online course and ranked first.

Each week, the most popular online courses offered by the University enrolled up to 2,000 students. Among the most popular courses in terms of the number of students enrolled were the courses in economics, cross-cutting technologies, and business projects. They develop competences that are in demand in the digital economy.

The increase in the number of the courses offered by the University on the international educational platforms ensures better brand recognition, including among applicants and potential employers. This strengthens the position of the University in the international league table QS (a detailed analytical note attached as Annex 1).

The University lauds the academic staff who have been engaged in developing online courses. The team that developed the course in Financial Literacy and was headed by Sergei Belozerov received an award ‘For Teaching Methodology in 2020’. This course was presented as a speciality on financial literacy on the international platform Coursera.

The increase in student numbers is accompanied by an increase in the number of students enrolled on the courses from the regional higher education institutions that use the University’s online courses in the teaching and learning process. From mid-March 2020, over 13,000 students from 89 universities were enrolled on the University’s online courses.

In the spring term, there was a rise in the number of students from regional universities who studied under the network agreements: in 2018 – there were about 1,200; in 2019 – there were over 2,000; while in 2020 the number of students reached 5,000.

The number of online courses included in the teaching and learning process at the

University is constantly increasing. In spring 2020, there were only 3,700 students enrolled on the University’s online courses that were compulsory to study and offered on the national platform Open Education. In autumn, it reached almost 22,000 students. In other words, the work on enrolment, supporting, organising special assessment sessions increased six times. Yet the quality of education remained the same and was ensured by the Centre for Development of Electronic Educational Resources and Academic Affairs Department at the University.

Within the scheme to develop the University’s online platform, the Centre of E-Learning Development at the University with support of the Language Testing Centre developed the platform for testing students who took the TORFL in a distance mode by using the personal identification technologies (the proctoring procedure).

Together with the Admissions Directorate, they were developing technical solutions to hold

Olympiads in a distance mode by using the personal identification technologies (the Olympiad for Schoolchildren, Olympiad ‘I am a Professional’, and Internet-Olympiad in Physics). These solutions will be used in developing various online services.

The University is currently preparing the performance plan for 2021 that will incorporate the following:

  • learning and teaching tasks and needs in ensuring the teaching and learning process
  • collaboration with the international platform Coursera
  • selection results of the competition to develop online courses in 2021

(Order No 1169/1 dated 17 February 2021)

  • developing online non-degree programmes in order to increase the number of students to improve the indicator of student numbers that can influence allocation of admissions quotas.

In 2021, the University will focus on expanding the pool of online educational products, including those that will be offered by using the University’s online platform. It will also focus on optimising and increasing effectiveness and efficiency of implementing the current products.

5. Applying for scholarships

The enquiry of why second-year master's students could not apply for scholarships was discussed in the Virtual Reception. It was explained that according to the current legislation and the University’s local acts, the second-year master’s students had a right to submit an application and necessary documents to take part in the competition to receive state-funded scholarships and scholarships in honour of outstanding scientists and scholars (scholarships of the Government of the Russian Federation, scholarships of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science of the Russian Federation, scholarship of the Government of St Petersburg).

It must be taken into account that according to the rules and regulations, all state-funded scholarships and scholarships in honour of outstanding scientists and scholars within the selection schemes implemented in the spring semester are approved and provided in the autumn semester of the current year (in particular, Article 3 of the Rules and Regulations for Scholarships of the President of the Russian Federation approved by the Decree No 613rp of the President of the Russian Federation dated 6 September 1993; Article 3 of the Decree No 309 of the Government of the Russian Federation ‘On founding the scholarship of the Government of the Russian Federation for postgraduate students and students of the state educational organisations of secondary professional education and higher education’ dated 6 April 1995; Paragraph 1 of Article 5.1 of Decree No 921 of the Government of St Petersburg ‘On the scholarships in honour of outstanding scientists and scholars of the Government of St Petersburg for students of higher education institutions and institutions of secondary professional education’ dated 30 August 2012).

By 1 September 2021, second-year master’s students who have applied for a scholarship will not be students at the University. That is why the scholarship cannot be approved and provided to them.

6. Strategy for the digital transformation of the University: drafting the event programme

The University will build up a working team to draft and prepare the event programme of the digital transformation of the University. It was explained that the digital transformation of the University is a complex transformation of the University’s ecosystem in relation to successful transition to new models and principles of person-oriented digital communication based on effective data exchange, workflow, and corporate culture based on the fundamentally new approaches to data management by using digital technologies.

The University digital transformation is underpinned by:

— in terms of managing and organising business processes at the University

  • transition to a single digital environment of the University with a high level of adaptability to the current changes that can implement crosscutting operational processes and personal interaction based on the internal formats of data exchange approved by the organisation, standardised services, integrated information systems/platforms, including those that aggregate, update and verify the data of the organisation
  • implementing effective up-to-date solutions and safe mechanisms to aggregate and store data, increasing the quality of collecting and analysing data
  • forming a management system based on using digital expert systems to support decision-making, including analytical (predictive) models
  • transition to applying digital technologies in key operational processes of the University that increase the effectiveness of adopted decisions and results
  • transition to cross-opportunities for management and decision-making in real time and distance management of the operational processes

— in terms of new principles of systematic development of human capital

  • increasing the role and responsibility of each unique member of the University’s digital ecosystem, defining typical model roles, unification of user identifiers in various systems, forming digital traces
  • transition to the principles of direct participation of key departments and divisions, staff, students and business environment of the University in digital transformation
  • transition to the model of a ‘digital twin’ and ‘digital profile’ in the processes / technological and production chains of the University and participants of the processes (staff, researchers, and students)
  • improving digital skills of staff and students of the University, forming competencies of solving production tasks by using information and telecommunication technologies, developing corporate culture in data management

The University’s digital transformation implies:

  • ensuring maximum efficiency of incorporating digital technologies into economic systems of all levels at the University; increasing economic effectiveness and efficiency of the University; decreasing financial costs and time needed to perform operational tasks and processes in all spheres of the statutory activities of the University by transition to digital solutions
  • eliminating overlapping in tasks in transition to the new corporate information systems; transforming management system by using digital technologies, incorporating and improving processes of developing and adopting decisions, developing strategic planning and forecasting, including resource planning (financial, non-financial etc.); ensuring automatisation of the business processes relating to the typical administration tasks
  • developing tailor-made and person-oriented digital infrastructure, fulfilling human resources potential of the University, forming digital environment and digital competences of staff, increasing productivity and quality of work of each employee
  • increasing quality of aggregated data of the University, developing effective mechanisms of data management, transition to managing research, educational and other processes within the statutory activities of the University by using the qualitative data
  • ensuring maximum fulfilment of the potential, increasing the level of representability, digital representation, demand for results and outcomes in research and research and development of the University, and assessing the level and effectiveness of incorporating them into the technological chains of companies in the real sector of the economy
  • developing up-to-date digital mechanisms of management of intellectual property of the University
  • strengthening information security of the University by using the tools to support the digital transformation

The main directions in the digital transformation of the University:

  1. modernising the current and developing new up-to-date models of managing digital learning environment, research, technical and innovative areas of work of the University by incorporating up-to-date digital tools and new principles of interaction and data management (incorporating platform solutions and services, forming the culture of data management, ensuring increased aggregation and processing of data in real time)
  2. developing a new approach to data management of the University, implementing the principles of data management that imply the processes ensuring a rapid access, processing and analysis of data, effectiveness of data usage, meeting the requirements of the legislation and norms set by the University’s local acts
  3. developing a management system of the University and decision-making based on the data that imply combining decision support systems and managerial decision support systems based on the analysis of the verified data
  4. creating conditions, developing opportunities and digital solutions of the networking cooperation, and implementing projects, data exchange with

external partners of the University (public sector, Russian and international research and educational organisations, enterprises, companies)

The key elements of the digital transformation of the University:

  • Soft skills (a person-oriented model)
  • Big Data (big data and effective analytics)
  • Flexibility (adaptability and flexibility of digital environment)
  • Challenges (readiness to accept challenges)
  • Hard (up-to-date effective technological base and information systems)

The programme document of the digital transformation of the University is the ‘Strategy for the digital transformation of St Petersburg University’ that includes the following sections:

  1. preamble (legal bases, current local acts, analysis of the current information systems / data bases and adopted rules and regulations on data management at the University)
  2. aims, tasks, key indicators of effectiveness (defining the horizons in shortterm (1 to 2 years) and long-term (5 years) perspectives; specifying the model / principles; expected model image of the processes and systems; expected technological solutions and their coordination)
  3. programmes/a plan of actions of digital transformation of the University (the plan of events (calendar-schedule) of the technological, operational, communication and other transformations)
  4. managing the digital transformation of the University (specifying the processes, stakeholders, divisions and departments, resources etc. that ensure implementation of the programme / plan of action)
  5. financing the events to support the digital transformation

To support the digital transformation, the University is to build up a working group on the digital transformation of the University. The deans and directors are ordered to submit their proposals to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods on what

to include in the plan of action / plan of events of the programme of the digital transformation of the University in three areas: digital transformation of learning environment of the University; digital transformation of research environment of the University; developing digital literacy and competencies of staff and students of the University. They are also ordered to submit their proposals on the candidates for the members of the expert board of the working group of the digital transformation of the University.

7. New duties of the University Academic Board

According to the current rules and regulations for fulfilling the research positions at the University, the competition for research positions at the University is announced by issuing an order by the Rector or another authorised person at least 20 calendar days before the deadline to submit applications. The order on announcing the competition includes the positions, research speciality, members of the competition commission that discuss the candidates, deadline for submitting applications, date of the meeting of the competition commission, and a link to the website of the University to find a detailed information about the competition.

Within one working day after the competition has been announced, the information on the competition is published on the University’s website and a website of the vacant position at http://ученые-исследователи.рф in the scope set by the rules of the above-mentioned website.

The competition commission shall adopt a decision on who wins the competition at least 15 calendar days after the deadline to submit applications. The information on the results of the competitive selection shall be published within three working days on the University’s website and the website of the vacant position.

The draft of the order proposes to amend the current rules and regulations for fulfilling the research positions at the University to include the possibility to adopt a final decision on who wins the competition before the competition commission is to discuss the issue in the following cases:

  • if a motivated letter is submitted by a candidate
  • if the Rector (or another authorised person) adopts a decision in case the Vice-Rector for Human Resources reveal the conflict of interests
  • if the Rector (of another authorised person) adopts a decision by his/her own initiative

In these cases, the period of discussing the applications can be extended up to 30 working days, with the relevant information being published on the University’s website and the website of the vacant position.

8. Classroom-based studies delivered by academic staff who are 65 or older

The enquiry submitted by a lecturer of physics in relation to allowing academic staff over 65 years old to deliver face-to-face classes was discussed in the Virtual Reception. It was explained that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the academic programmes at the University are implemented in accordance with the recommendations issued by the Rospotrebnadzor (MR 3.1/2.1.0205-20 ‘Recommendations on preventing the new coronavirus infection

(COVID-19) in the educational organisations of higher education’; MR 3.1/2.4.0178/1-20 ‘Recommendations on organising work of the higher education institutions under conditions of risks of spread of COVID-19’), and an address delivered by the Governor of St Petersburg Alexander Beglov from 5 November 2020 which recommended Rectors of

higher education institutions in St Petersburg to organise the teaching and learning process in a distance mode.

Since November 2020, the academic process at the University has been organised by using information and telecommunication technologies (in a distance mode). This format of the learning process is reflected in the electronic timetable and concerns all members of the academic staff, not only those who are over 65.

Decree of the Government of St Petersburg No 141 ‘On amending Decree of the

Government of St Petersburg No 121 dated 13 March 2020’ extended a period of a distance working mode for staff who are over 65 years old and have chronic conditions and a period for citizens over 65 years old and citizens who have chronic conditions to stay at the place of residence up to 30 April 2021.

It was also noted that since 1 March 2021 the University has been gradually moving to a blended format of the teaching and learning process that combines traditional face-to-face classes and classes delivered by using information and telecommunication technologies (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 20 February 2021).

9. Enquiries submitted to be discussed by the working group formed in relation to the reorganisation of the University

It is known that the University has formed a working group that includes the members of the University’s academic staff to communicate with students, staff, and third persons on the issues relating to the reorganisation of the University (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 15 March 2021). The head of the group is Professor Ivan Uralov. Elena Chernova reported that over the last week there were few enquiries on this issue. Those few enquiries that were received duplicate the questions that had been already discussed in the Virtual Reception (Which rooms will students in Liberal Arts and Sciences study in after the reorganisation of the University (separation of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences)?, On payment of the seminars from the Endowment Fund after the reorganisation of the University (separation of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences)).

There are few new questions (for example,  Should I prepare for an exam in mathematics when entering the new university in relation with the reorganisation of the University (separation of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and

Sciences)? As new information on the possible new name of the university appears, the

Virtual Reception receives enquiries on so called Smolny Institute of the University:  Has the Smolny Institute ever been opened at the University?). As a rule, publicity/hype gives way to stirring great public interest in the issue. The hype in reorganisation of the University stirred great interest in how the programme in Liberal Arts and Sciences has been developed at the University. The answers were given to these questions and have received over 12,000 hits (What is the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the

University?). All enquires relating to the reorganisation of the University can be found here.

All issues relating to the reorganisation of the University were discussed during the Rector’s meeting. The issue of drafting a plan of action of the reorganisation of the University by the federal public sector to be approved by the Government of the Russian Federation was discussed in detail.  The members of the meeting heard and had possibility to discuss the opinions of the heads of the master’s academic programmes at the University, the opinions of the representatives of the University in relation to drafting the plans of action, organising discussions on drafts of the plan of action and discussion of these issues with the federal public bodies.

First, admissions to the new university. Taking into account the request by the Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and opinion of the University Academic Council:

admissions to the newly-established university should be performed by the newlyestablished university, and the universities should not offer the same academic programmes. All members of the meeting supported the proposal by the Senior Vice-Rector Professor Elena Chernova that the University was ready to provide management and technical support to the newly-established university in relation to organising advertising campaign and accepting the applications if the University of Liberal Arts and Sciences was to admit new students. This proposal does not contradict the current legislation and practice: over several weeks, mass media has been advertising an admissions campaign to the newly-established university (Kudrin: The university that is based on St Petersburg University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences to help other universities incorporate Liberal Arts in their academic process , Aleksei Kudrin: This will be a small, but special university, Students are promised a liberal university with the halls of residence at the heart of St Petersburg and the best dining area), and these actions by no means contradict the current legislation. St Petersburg University can also inform applicants on the website of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences about admissions to the newly-established university and technical support in relation to organising admissions process. Additionally, the information about the reorganisation of St Petersburg University and opening the new university has already been published on the website of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Reorganisation of St Petersburg University).  Yet this position is not supported by the administration of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences. They suppose that new students should be accepted on the first year of study by St Petersburg University and then proposed to transfer to the newly-established university.

Applicants are advised to fill in an informed consent on applying to St Petersburg University and being ready to be transferred to the newly established university (from 1 September 2021).

Second, the deadline for students to decide which university to study at. The members of the meeting supported the opinion of Elena Chernova who informed that she had adopted the following approach to drafting the plan of action: we should provide students in Liberal Arts and Sciences and in the relevant master’s programmes with an opportunity to finish the spring term and pass the interim assessment or state final assessment at the University. Only after, they can decide whether they are going to pursue their study at St Petersburg University or transfer to the newly-established university. By that time, academic staff of Liberal Arts and Sciences will also be able to make a decision.

Third, formulating financial and economic reasons to establish the newly-established university. The members of the meeting supported the position that formulating financial and economic reasons to establish the new university should be within the scope of the initiators and founders of the newly-established university, rather than St Petersburg University (it is reflected in the draft of the plan of action).

   
   

Fourth, transferring some of the halls of residence, floors, or blocks of the halls of residents that are now owned by St Petersburg University to the newly established university. The members of the meeting objected to this opinion.

Fifth, signing an agreement on collaboration with the newly-established university for the period of study of the previously admitted students. The members of the meeting think that it is possible to sign this agreement if all the interests of St Petersburg University are to be taken into account.

Sixth, awarding a diploma of the format of St Petersburg University to the graduates of the newly-established university. The members of the meeting think that fourth-year bachelor’s students and second-year master’s students (those who graduate in 2021) should be awarded diplomas of the format of St Petersburg University in case they successfully pass the state final assessment. As for other students who might be willing to transfer to the newlyestablished university, this issue should be approached in accordance with the current rules of the University.

10. Vaccination of international citizens

The Virtual Reception received an enquiry relating to vaccination of international students. It was explained that only citizens of the Russian Federation or international citizens who have resided for a long time in the Russian Federation could be vaccinated against COVID19. International students do not belong to these categories. Should the situation change, all international students at the University will be informed.

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 23 August 2021

  1. Celebrating the winners of the International Mathematics Competition for University Students IMC-2021
  2. St Petersburg University scientists present the results of research on COVID-19 immune response dynamics
  3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  4. Preparation to the new academic year
  5. Results of the student survey performed by the academic mobility programme participants
  6. The Chinese Cabinet at St Petersburg University
  7. Admissions processes at St Petersburg University
  8. Accommodation arrangements in the University halls of residence
  9. COVID-19 vaccination arrangements
  10. Placement of information boards with the Russian Professorial Assembly prize winners at St Petersburg University
  11. Changes in human resources

1. Celebrating the winners of the International Mathematics Competition for University Students IMC-2021

Rector Nikolay Kropachev   congratulated the winners of the 28th International Mathematics Competition for University Students. The championship took place online hosting 113 teams from universities all over the world (Students of St Petersburg University win the main international student mathematics Olympiad – the International Mathematics Competition for University Students 2021).

The University team included Aleksandr Grebennikov, Stanislav Krymskii, Mikhail Ivanov, Nikita Dobronravov, Marat Abdrakhmanov, Nikita Karagodin, Dmitrii Iartsev, Egor Dobronravov, Kirill Tyshchuk, Mikhail Novikov.  Additionally, Konstantin Chelpanov and Artem Skvortsov took part in individual classification. Five of them were among the top ten participants in individual classification. The team leaders were Danila Cherkashin, Research Associate in the Chebyshev Laboratory, and Professor Fedor Petrov, who became the third most efficient leader among the IMC-2021 teams. Our team wins the Olympiad in mathematics once every three years showing good results in between. Over the past seven years it has been among the top five participants. Fedor Petrov promised that the tradition of successful performances will be continued. ‘It is high time we won every year,’ he emphasised.

The International Mathematics Competition for University Students has taken place annually since 1994. It is supported by University College London, the American University in Bulgaria, and high-tech companies such as Huawei, Wolfram Research, Maplesoft, Zulip, and Springer. This year, St Petersburg University became the only Russian university among the top ten participants.

2. St Petersburg University scientists present the results of research on COVID-19 immune response dynamics

In June 2021, a prestigious medical journal Journal of Medical Virology published an article by the University alumnus Andrei Ivanov, Head of the Department of Human Genetics at the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University. It is devoted to long-term monitoring of build-up and reduction of the IgA and IgG antibodies level during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was conducted together with the staff of the Molecular Biophysics Division at the B.V. Konstantinov Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute.

As a result, the scientists managed to measure the parameters of immune response dynamics and the role of class A immunoglobulins in collective immunity development.   A brief overview of the article is published at the University website (St Petersburg scientists assess the dynamics of immune response to COVID19 in St Petersburg).

Today, despite significant progress in the field of scientific description of coronavirus biology, development of antivirus vaccines and creation of efficient test systems, a number of problems is still to be solved. One of them is the character, intensity and duration of the body immune response after contact with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Currently, the majority of immune research is related to studying severe forms of the disease, while the publications devoted to long-term observations of the immune status in post-COVID-19 patients and people with low SARS-CoV-2 viral load are rarely found.    There is no clear answer to the question if those who have to live next to COVID-19 patients or infected people form an immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and how long the protective pool of antibodies stays after going through the disease. 

Andrei Ivanov started his research in May 2020 intending to solve these problems. The goal was to perform quantitative assessment of the immune response level duration for COVID-19. The scientist therefore performed: a nine-month long monitoring of the development and decline of the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection; and qualitative assessment of the IgA and IgG immunoglobulin levels in the blood of healthy citizens of St Petersburg and post-COVID-19 patients. 180 volunteers leading active social life during the pandemic took part in the project. The RNA virus was determined by a standard PCR test in real time mode. Enzyme immunoassay was performed for quantitative assessment. The use of two methods simultaneously every two weeks enabled the researcher to determine the moment of the disease onset and the initial level of antibody response. Further periodic changes in IgA and IgG levels in the blood of the participants showed the dynamics of its development and reduction.

As it was mentioned, during the research 28% of patients (51 people) were infected with COVID-19. All people that went through the disease formed a stable humoral immune response. However, individual immune responses had different characteristics: in particular, a significant number of project participants diagnosed with COVID-19 demonstrated not entirely typical change in the IgA antibody level almost in 40% of cases.     These antibodies retained high levels for over six months and often exceeded in quantity the IgG antibodies.

Another important research result is the data on the presence of an increased level of IgA antibodies in a part of healthy people. The scientists concluded that it is the IgA decreased level that signifies the need in vaccination and protection of the body after going through coronavirus disease. It is especially important for people with autoimmune conditions and weak immunity. The analysis of antibody level can help in calculating the vaccination time line and revaccination after going through the disease. This is crucial when planning vaccination campaigns and evaluating the development of collective immunity.  Understanding the immune response development will help to determine vaccination intervals more accurately for different population groups.

Currently, the time of the research is prolonged and new data on the IgA dynamics for a longer time period are expected.

3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process

Over the past week, the Virtual Reception received 52 enquiries on various topics including 14 questions on educational and methodological issues: possibility of transfer; date of starting the classes in the autumn term of the 2021/22 academic year; COVID-19 vaccination requirements when settling at St Petersburg University halls of residence; providing unique information on the document of a standard form through the Public Services Portal ‘Gosuslugi’; distant learning possibilities at St Petersburg University; and auditing classes to name just a few.

Over the same time period, 30 enquiries including 29 questions on educational and methodological issues were registered in the enquiry register: entry of international students to the Russian Federation; status certificate requests; class format; preparing agreements with clinics; vaccination of international students; and student group formation to name just a few. Timely responses to all student enquiries have been prepared by officials, heads of various services of the University, and heads of academic and research departments.

The deans of faculties and directors of institutes have provided reports on holding meetings with the student community representatives. The representatives of the Student Council at the Institute of Earth Sciences at St Petersburg University discussed the transfer of some practical activities to August-September. The University student enquired if this will result in shifting the start date of the academic year and in person classes.  Acting Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences Takhir Aliev said that a detailed response can be given only upon the issue of relevant orders. As of today, the calendars of the relevant academic programmes and their timetable have been adjusted. Currently, the orders on practical activity referrals have been issued.

The Dean of the School of International Relations received an enquiry from a third-year bachelor’s student with a request to provide her with a referral letter for an internship. On 8 August 2021, St Petersburg University sent a formal request to the Eurasian Economic Commission regarding an internship position. On 14 August 2021, the Eurasian Economic Commission replied that due to the coronavirus limitation, there was no possibility to accept the student for an internship at the moment. The student was informed about the response of the Commission. The Dean also received an enquiry over e-mail from a first-year student dismissed for academic failure. The University student was given an opportunity to get a credit based on the results of the ‘History of Russia’ online course. However, the student failed to pass it during all the available attempts. As a result, the student was dismissed in June 2021. A detailed response is being prepared for the student.

The majority of heads of academic and research departments have reported no updates on the academic process due to holiday time. The majority of heads of academic and research departments have reported that over the past week no meetings were held with the Student Council representatives due to holiday time and the absence of issues to discuss.

4. Preparation to the new academic year

St Petersburg University continues working on the distribution of assignments to develop timetable for all academic programmes (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 16 August 2021). The number of requests from the directors and deans to employ teaching staff under part-time employment agreements or under civil contracts with further creation of teaching assignments has increased three-fold as compared to the previous week. However, it should be noted that it takes time to process such requests. As a result, the timetable lines have been filled for about 2% as of today. It seems like a small figure, but the number of teachers behind it is quite significant. In this regard, the HR department will process the received information as fast as possible. 

The process of distributing teaching load has accelerated in the subdivisions that were in the ‘red zone’ last week: the College of Physical Training and Sports, Economics and Technology at St Petersburg University; the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. On average, the number of filled lines has increased by 12%. 

All the processes related to teaching assignments are being approved through the ‘Delo’ information system. 

5. Results of the student survey performed by the academic mobility programme participants

703 people took part in the academic mobility programmes implemented by St Petersburg University together with international partner universities in the 2020/21 academic year.    250 of them studied at St Petersburg University also with the use of information and communication technologies.

Based on the result of the survey performed among international students studying for an extra degree at St Petersburg University, the majority of students were satisfied with the academic programme and administrative support provided by the University staff coordinating the admission at the level of the University and the fields of study. International students gave an especially high praise to the level of teaching Russian as a foreign language at St Petersburg University. 

International students of the degree programmes at St Petersburg University in the 2020/21 academic year mentioned the following problems: inability to come to St Petersburg in person and associated communication problems (technical and psychological); time difference between St Petersburg and their locations; and inconveniences related to the time of classes. It should be noted that in comparison with the autumn term of the 2020/21 academic year, students studying at St Petersburg University in the spring term report no technical difficulties with connecting to classes and finding the right course. All the technical issues were resolved and no complaints were received.    

In general, despite the impossibility for the majority of students to enter the Russian Federation due to the restrictions (which certainly affected the students’ opinion), students’ feedback on studying at St Petersburg University is positive for the most part. 

453 students of St Petersburg University took part in the academic mobility programmes at international partner universities in the 2020/21 academic year. 92 of them studied remotely staying in the Russian Federation. The survey results demonstrate that the majority of students (82% of respondents) positively assess their experience of studying in degree programmes abroad. During the term, all students directed to international universities received continuous support in terms of information and other needs on the part of the University coordinators. Besides, additionally 11 students expressed gratitude to the University staff for excellent work and assistance in preparation to the study abroad term. Based on the term outcomes, the credits for the degree programmes both in the offline and online format in partner universities were transferred. Some students mentioned that they experienced difficulties adjusting to online format in partner universities. Three students were not satisfied with the studies. However, the absolute majority (61 people) find their experience of studying in degree programmes useful.

Students mention the system of selecting and registering for courses and receiving the visa among the major difficulties in dealing with host institutions.

One of the major problems experienced by the University students was the lack of clarity regarding the possibility of travelling to the country of the host institution in August of 2020. To prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease, St Petersburg University issued Order No 1916/1 dated 13 March 2020 ‘On students’ health care and suspension of international travel’ that suspended the issue of local acts on directing students of St Petersburg University to foreign countries. This issue was pointed out by 16% of respondents.

In general, the scope of outgoing academic mobility in the 2020/21 academic year reduced almost two-fold in comparison with the 2019/2020 academic year, which is directly related to the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the partner universities cancelled or shifted the admission of students to future time periods, while the students are still expressing low interest in studying in degree programmes online. 

6. The Chinese Cabinet at St Petersburg University

The project of creating a Chinese Cabinet at the University was initiated in 2019 in connection with the visit of comrade Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China and Honorary Doctor of St Petersburg University (Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from St Petersburg University). It was successfully implemented in cooperation with the headquarters of the Confucius Institute. The headquarters of the Confucius Institute has a separate category of grants aimed at funding similar projects. St Petersburg University is one of the key international partners of the headquarters. However, the grant applicants should provide a most detailed financial feasibility and technical documentation as well as a project design reflecting its relation to China. All the required documents were developed by the University staff and were highly praised by the Chinese partners.

The Chinese Cabinet at St Petersburg University should become a landmark of the kind and a bright example of friendly humanitarian and cultural cooperation between Russia and China illustrating the great input of the University into the development and strengthening of academic and cultural ties between Russia and China.   

Currently, the works on refurbishing the room have been successfully completed in the historic premises of the University at 11 Universitetskaya Embankment (the Palace of Emperor Peter II). The Chinese Cabinet will serve as a place to conduct studies, testing, joint work of research groups in the Chinese studies, studies of language, culture and history, negotiations with Chinese partners in the online and offline modes. The Cabinet will become a platform for scientific exchange and other events demonstrating significant achievements of the University in the sphere of Chinese studies. 

7. Admissions processes at St Petersburg University

St Petersburg University completed the admission to the bachelor’s and specialist’s programmes. The admission orders for full-time students funded from the state budget were issued on 17 August 2021. In general, 2,156 citizens have been admitted on government-funded places. Thus, the admission within the planned admission number determined by Order No 848 of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation dated 31 July 2020 (hereinafter referred to as Order No 848) was performed for 100% of places.  

On 21 August 2021, the orders on the admission to St Petersburg University for the bachelor's and specialist’s programmes to fill the fee-paying places were issued. 1,800 applicants have been admitted (the lists of admitted students can be viewed on the St Petersburg University Admissions Committee website).

St Petersburg University performed the work aimed at increasing the availability of higher education by means of using a student loan with governmental support within the framework of admitting fee-paying students to bachelor’s, specialist’s and other programmes. The representatives of St Petersburg University and PJSC Sberbank provided this information during the online all-University Welcome Day (St Petersburg University applicants informed about the changes in the admission rules in 2021). The information on student loans was also published on the University website in the applicant’s personal account and mailed to the e-mails of all applicants. PJSC Sberbank provided for a personal manager and a ‘hot line’ for the applicants of St Petersburg University. Based on the information from PJSC Sberbank, in June and July 2021 the applicants of St Petersburg University concluded 338 student loan agreements. The information on the agreements concluded in August will be provided in the beginning of September. 

  • On 17 August 2021, the admission to full-time master’s programmes at St Petersburg University was completed.  1,990 citizens have been admitted on government-funded places. Thus, the admission within the planned admission quotas determined by Order No 848 was performed for 100% of places.  380 applicants have been admitted under the fee-paying agreements.  The lists of admitted students can be viewed here. The admission to the part-time master's programmes to the fee-paying places will be open till 23 September 2021. 
  • The admission to the aspirantura programmes aimed at training research and teaching staff was completed on 21 August 2021.  432 citizens were admitted to government-funded places. Thus, the admission within the planned admission quotas determined by Order No 849 of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation dated 31 July 2020 (hereinafter referred to as Order No 849) was performed for 100% of places.  The admission orders are published on the website of the St Petersburg University Admission Committee. 53 applicants will be admitted under the fee-paying agreements.
  • The admission to the clinical residency programmes was completed on 20 August 2021.  94 citizens were admitted to government-funded places. Thus, the admission within the planned admission quotas determined by Order No 849 was performed for 100% of places.
  • 292 applicants have been admitted under the fee-paying agreements. The admission orders have been published.
  • The admission to the secondary vocational training programmes was completed on 21 August 2021. 95 citizens were admitted to the government-funded places. Thus, the admission within the planned admission quotas determined by Order No 371 of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation dated 31 July 2020 was performed for 100% of places.
  •  246 applicants have been admitted under the fee-paying agreements. The admission orders can be viewed on the website of the  St Petersburg University Admission Committee.

The dynamics of admission is estimated as stable and comparable to 2020 indicators. No abrupt changes in the quantitative or qualitative criteria have been noticed. For example, the average score of the Unified State Examination of those enrolled in the government-funded places within the general competition was 93.09, while in 2020 this parameter was 93.61.

Following the process of admission for foreign citizens, currently together with the Russian Ministry of Education, the University is processing the required admission documents for the foreign citizens that have been selected on a competitive bases and recommended for admission. The documents include a ‘referral for studying’ document, visa instructions and admission orders for foreign citizens, confirmed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation for places funded from the federal budget.

On 28 August 2021, the Government Executive Office held another extended session with the participation of the federal authority representatives supervising educational organisations of higher education, and rectors of the universities supervised by the Russian Federation Government. The session was devoted to the industrial operation of the federal information system – superservice ‘Enter the University online’. 

The session participants discussed the issues of: timely processing by individual educational institutions of the applications submitted via the superservice; the reasons of refusing the applications; and the ways of improving the superservice.

8. Accommodation arrangements in the University halls of residence

St Petersburg University continues the activity on preparing for the new academic year.  As of today, the University halls of residence have 4,498 places available by 25 August 2021. Each of them is prepared and equipped in accordance with the equipment standard approved by the University. By 31 August 2021, 128 more places will be freed by the aspirantura graduates, non-degree programme students, student family members and others.  After the repair works performed by the University staff, 227 places including 189 placed in the Peterhof complex and 38 in the Vasilyevsky Island have been put into operation.

The distribution of rooms has been done in advance for the convenience of students. Tenancy agreements and other documents have been generated. It will significantly reduce the time required for the settlement procedure and help to avoid standing in lines. To increase the throughput capacity in the central access control point, four additional work stations for the staff of the Access control and security division have been mounted. Volunteers have been attracted to the settlement campaign.

The Virtual Reception received many enquiries on the resettlement in the halls of residence and between the residential buildings. It was decided that the resettlement between the residential buildings will start after the completion of the settlement campaign that will last till 15 September. The resettlement between Peterhof and the city halls of residence will be possible starting 1 October. The relevant changes will be made in the order restricting the resettlement. All activities will be implemented taking into account the current epidemiological situation.

9. COVID-19 vaccination arrangements

In view of the new academic year start, the University received enquiries from international students and their parents on the process of vaccination.

Earlier, a mobile vaccination point was arranged in 20 Korablestroitelei Street, so the students can get vaccinated near their accommodation. 120 students out of 503 students staying at the halls of residence at that time made a vaccination appointment. 113 out of 120 students were vaccinated with the two components of ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine. No more students expressed a desire to get vaccinated ignoring the second invitation. The polyclinic at St Nikolas Hospital provided for vaccination for the students of St Petersburg University staying at the Peterhof halls of residence. At the Rector’s meeting, it was decided to ask the Hospital administration to organise a mobile vaccination point for the students studying in Peterhof. Out-of-town students of St Petersburg University are recommended to get vaccinated in their region in advance. 

The city of St Petersburg is collecting the information on the potential number of international students wishing to get vaccinated in the Russian Federation. St Petersburg University regularly submits such information upon request and is ready to follow the recommendations of the city.

10. Placement of information boards with the Russian Professorial Assembly prize winners at St Petersburg University

To preserve and further develop the research potential of the Russian science and higher education, stimulate scientific and technical development and motivate outstanding research and teaching staff, the all-Russia public organisation ‘Russian Professorial Assembly’ has established national prises: ‘Professor of the Year’, ‘Dean of the Year’, ‘Rector of the Year’.

In 2020, six staff members of St Petersburg University received the awards (The winners of the Russian Professorial Assembly prize announcedThe best professors and deans of the year prizes awarded at St Petersburg University). Dean of the Faculty of Psychology Alla Shaboltas and Dean of the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes Leon Petrosyan won in the ‘Dean of the Year’ nomination.   

The title of the professor of the year was given to Nikolay Kuznetsov, Head of the Department of Applied Cybernetics at the Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty; Vladimir Popondopulo, Head of the Department of Commercial Law at the Faculty of Law; and Leonid Smorgunov, Head of the Department of Political Governance at the Faculty of Political Science.   

Moreover, Irina Novikova, Dean of the School of International Relations won both the ‘Dean of the Year’ and ‘Professor of the Year’ prizes. 

Rector Nikolay Kropachev took the decision to celebrate the achievements of outstanding scientists and teachers by a relevant bonus and by placing the information on the national award winners in the University premises. In this regard, several versions of stands and boards were developed and approved by the subdivision heads and administrative services.  

Six stands and seven boards with the last names of the prise winners were produced and placed in the University buildings hosting the relevant subdivisions:

  • 6 Makarov Embankment
  • 1 Smolny Prospect (entrance 7 and 8)
  • 7a 22nd Line, Vasilyevsky Island
  • 35 Universitetsky Prospect, Peterhof
  • 28 Universitetsky Prospect, Peterhof

11. Changes in human resources

The position of Vice Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods has been established at the University. Former Head of the General Office of Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods Elvira Zeletdinova was appointed Acting Vice Rector.  

Elvira Zeletdinova graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy, completed aspirantura and doctorate programmes at Lomonosov Moscow State University. She is Candidate of Science (Philosophy) (1992), Doctor of Political Science (2003), Professor (2005), and Honorary Worker in the field of education of the Russian Federation (2019). Since November 2019, she has headed the General Office of Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods at St Petersburg University.

Elvira Zeletdinova has passed through all the stages of university work. At the Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution ‘Astrakhan State Technical University’ she took the positions of Associate Professor, Head of the Department, Director of the Educational Policy Department (licensing, accreditation, quality management system, education quality control), Director of the Institute of the Humanities, Vice Rector for International Relations, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs. She has authored scientific and methodological works on the quality of education and methodological problems of forming competencies and participated in and directed five state university accreditations.

Since 2010, she has served as a federal expert in professional education quality. She is a member of the National Guild of Experts in Higher Education. In 2021, Ms Zeletdinva has confirmed the title of an international expert.

Elvira Zeletdinova is a specialist in the field of political sociology and elitology. She heads the regional research school in political sociology. Professor Zeletdinova has supervised 10 candidates of sciences; and authored over 200 publications, five monographs, and over 70 articles in reviewed journals including those in Scopus and Web of Science databases (three articles within the last three years). She has directed 13 research grants of the Russian Humanitarian Foundation, Russian Foundation for Basic Research, and the United Nations Development Programmes.

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs will report directly to the Rector.

Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 2 August 2021

  1. Admissions processes
  2. Amending the Rules and regulations for defending dissertations to gain a degree of candidate of sciences and doctor of sciences approved by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia
  3. Measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection (COVID19) at St Petersburg University
  4. Inspection by the Prosecutor's Office upon revealing educational documents and other materials from Bard College in St Petersburg University
  5. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  6. Admission of the Alumni Association's members to St Petersburg University
Read more ...

Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 19 July 2021

  1. Negotiations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the Russian Federation
  2. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  3. New regulations for accepting the results of completing online courses
  4. Organising of and informing about the admissions processes
  5. Science Metrix indexes of St Petersburg University
  6. The number of the St Petersburg University's projects supported by the Russian Science Foundation in comparison with other Russia's universities
  7. Recording responsibilities of academic staff
  8. Accessibility of the St Petersburg University's objects for people with special health needs
Read more ...

Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 12 July 2021

  1. Results of collaboration between St Petersburg University, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and academic institutes
  2. Work of the University's experts within the framework of the 'Initiatives of social and economic development of Russia'
  3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  4. Rules and regulations for a research supervisor of the academic programme are approved
  5. Electronic portfolio of the St Petersburg University Academic Gymnasium students
  6. Participation of St Petersburg University students in international competitions
  7. Violating the University's Code of Conduct by the University staff and students
  8. Measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 infection
Read more ...

Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 5 Jule 2021

  1. Changes introduced into the Federal Law ‘On Lomonosov Moscow State University and St Petersburg University’
  2. Decisions on Human Resources
  3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  4. On accommodating students in the halls of residence
  5. St Petersburg University visited by the winners and laureates of the all-Russia Olympiads among school students seeking to be enrolled into the bachelor’s programmes in mathematics and computer science
  6. The number of the University projects supported by the Russian Science Foundation
  7. Digital profiles of research and teaching staff
  8. Preliminary results of the assessment
  9. The results of work dedicated to the perpetuation of the memory of Lyudmila Verbitskaya
  10. Organising medical check-ups for students
  11. The response of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation to the enquiry from St Petersburg University
  12. Observing the face mask mandate by the students
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 15 June 2021

  1. Valerii Zapasskii, a scientist of St Petersburg University – laureate of the Russian Federation National Award
  2. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  3. Using the results of The Three University Missions ranking
  4. Taking into account the data of the World University Ranking (U.S. News Best Global Universities)
  5. A series of webinars for teachers of the Leningrad region
  6. Medals of the Russian Academy of Sciences – for young scientists of St Petersburg University
  7. Compensation of expenses for the publication of scientific articles
  8. Violations committed by students of St Petersburg University
  9. Tuition fees at St Petersburg University
  10. Termination of the contract between St Petersburg University and the Alumni Association
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 8 June 2021

  1. St Petersburg University scientists received Golitsyn Prize of the Russian Academy of Sciences
  2. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  3. Events on the margins of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum
  4. St Petersburg University is the best university in Russia in terms of financial management quality
  5. Strategic session devoted to the creation of world-class campuses
  6. The issues related to the University’s Strategic Plan have been clarified
  7. The cooperation between St Petersburg University and Lomonosov Moscow State University in the field of distance learning
  8. Who will receive the scholarships of the Russian Federation Government?
  9. The achievements of St Petersburg University students in the field of sport
  10. The St Petersburg University Collegium of Honorary Professors discussed the activity of the Alumni Association
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 31 May 2021

  1. Professor Petr Iablonskii is awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of St Petersburg
  2. The award named after Professor Vataniar Yagya is established
  3. St Petersburg University staff receiving the Prizes of the Government of St Petersburg
  4. St Petersburg University scientists in ‘The New Knowledge’ marathon
  5. ‘The Architecture of the Siege’ – the best documentary
  6. The use of digital portfolio in the system of general education
  7. The events within the framework of the Korea–Russia Dialogue
  8. St Petersburg University Agreement with Iranian partners
  9. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  10. The enquiry from a student of St Petersburg University
  11. The hybrid format of the graduation ceremonies
  12. The ‘Priority-2030’ programme
  13. Applications of the competition participants seeking academic and teaching staff positions
  14. The disappearance of a student
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 17 May 2021

  1. A session of Petersburger Dialogue Coordinating Committees
  2. St Petersburg University Strategic Plan indicators
  3. Monument to COVID-19 victims
  4. The Office of RF Prosecutor General and Bard College (USA)
  5. Restructuring the St Petersburg University Research Support Service
  6. Organisation of theses defences
  7. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 11 May 2021

  1. Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, is the winner of the Nika Film Award
  2. Meeting of the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees
  3. Cooperation Agreement between St Petersburg University and Sberbank
  4. St Petersburg University Strategic Plan until 2030 Approved
  5. Current issues related to the organisation of the teaching and learning process
  6. St Petersburg University online school
  7. Personnel competition to accompany a world-class international centre
  8. Accessibility of the St Petersburg University portal for people with special health needs
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 12 April 2021

  1. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  2. Round-table discussion ’Problems of formation and fixation of student electronic portfolio of individual achievements’
  3. The procedure for the entry of international students into the Russian Federation for study purposes has been established
  4. Competition for the position of Deputy Head of the Auditing Department
  5. Merging of the University’s Palaeontology Museum and Palaeontological and Stratigraphic Museum
  6. Separate waste collection at the University
  7. ’Vestnik of St Petersburg University. Law’ registered with the Scopus Science Metrix database
  8. Damage done by students to the University property
  9. Dissemination of information on the activities of the University scientists in the media
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 5 April 2021

  1. Kirill Chistiakov has been awarded the title of ‘Honoured Geographer of the Russian Federation’
  2. The Government of St Petersburg Official Award named after Gennady Leonov
  3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  4. Participation of students in the project on Monitoring Law Enforcement
  5. Organising access to the resources of the Research Park
  6. ‘St Petersburg University Journal of Economic Studies’ (SUJES) has been included into Scopus database
  7. The Prize of Elsevier company
  8. The results of the joint competition of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the Iran National Science Foundation (INSF)
  9. Interaction of the University with Iranian partners
  10. The installation of a memorial plate to Vladimir Mavrodin
  11. The status of the reorganisation of St Petersburg University
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 29 March 2021

  1. Operation of the St Petersburg University Centre for Financial Literacy in 2020
  2. Professor Detlef Bahnemann is elected to the European Academy of Sciences
  3. How laboratory data sheets work
  4. Dmitri Mendeleev and St Petersburg University
  5. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  6. Questions about the reorganisation of St Petersburg University
  7. Arbitration Court sustains St Petersburg University’s claim against the Territorial Fund for Compulsory Medical Insurance
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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 22 March 2021

  1. Current issues of organising the teaching and learning process
  2. Format of the teaching and learning process from1 April 2021
  3. List of the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes
  4. Organising work with the online courses
  5. Applying for scholarships
  6. Strategy for the digital transformation of the University: drafting the event programme
  7. New duties of the University Academic Board
  8. Classroom-based studies delivered by academic staff who are 65 or older
  9. Enquiries submitted to be discussed by the working group formed in relation to the reorganisation of the University
  10. Vaccination of international citizens
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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 15 March

1. Current issues related to organisation of the teaching and learning process

Last week, the Virtual Reception received 21 enquiries from students and teachers addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. These included 7 enquires on teaching and methodology. 11 enquiries were sent to the email of the Vice-Rector. They exclude the enquiries on the University reorganisation (see paragraph 2 below). The most urgent issues were addressed in detail. They will be published in the full report of the Rector’s Meeting.

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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 10 March 2021

The participants of the meeting observed a moment of silence in memory of the University Professor Emeritus Evgeny Veremey.

1. Current issues related to organisation of the teaching and learning process

Last week, the Virtual Reception received 45 enquiries from students and teachers addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. Nine enquiries were sent to the e-mail of the Vice-Rector. The most urgent issues were addressed in detail. They will be published in the full report of the Rector’s Meeting.

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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 20 February 2021

1. The format of training sessions from 1 March 2021

The Rector’s meeting addressed the proposals of the heads of academic and research departments on the format of training sessions from 1 March 2021. The following decisions were made taking into account the experience of organising the teaching and learning process with the use of information and communication technologies and the need to comply with the Recommendations for the prevention of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in educational institutions of higher education, approved by the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation on 29 July 2020.

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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 22 January 2021

1. Current issues with organising the academic process

Last week, the Virtual Reception received 35 enquiries from students and teachers including 23 enquiries on academic issues addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. Seven enquiries were sent to the e-mail of the Vice-Rector. The most urgent issues were addressed in detail. They will be published in the full report of the Rector’s Meeting (The quality of the heating system in hall of residence No 18;St Petersburg University branch in Tashkent;Competition for funding to cover participation in student olympiads, intellectual contests, conferences and other scientific events in 2021;  Imposing disciplinary liability).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 14 December 2020

1. St Petersburg University is a co-founder and the sole Russian representative in the Global Alliance of Massive Open Online Courses

The Global MOOC Alliance is a non-commercial partnership of higher educational institutions, online educational platforms and international non-profit organisations initiated by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technology in Education (UNESCO IITE) and Tsinghua University (PRC). Its creation was officially announced in Beijing at the global online conference ‘Learning Revolution and Higher Education Transformation’, which took place on 9-11 December 2020. St Petersburg University’s participation in the founding of the Global MOOC Alliance is a great honour and gives us worldwide recognition in the field of online education.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 7 December 2020

As proposed by the Rector, the meeting began with a moment of silence in memory of Professor Igor Froyanov.

1. About a meeting with Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

On 2 December, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko met with the heads of the following organisations, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government: Moscow State University, St Petersburg University, Kurchatov Institute, the Higher School of Economics, the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and the University of Economics. St Petersburg University Rector Nikolay Kropachev and Vice-Rector for Research Sergey Mikushev participated in the meeting, during which the work of the Situation Centre of the Government of the Russian Federation and new approaches to contemporary digital management were demonstrated. Two lines of development were highlighted in the work of the Centre: teams of professionals, ad hoc groups of experts and government officials, who are engaged in dealing with particular tasks, and an approach to work predicated on the principle of co-working.

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