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 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 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 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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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 30 November 2020

1. The Second International Congress of the Russian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science

On 27-29 November, the Second International Congress of the Russian Society for History and Philosophy of Science was held at St Petersburg University. The main areas of history and the philosophy of science that are presented in Russia were considered, as were new, emerging areas of research that are just beginning to develop in our country. Emphasis was placed on a discussion of issues involving the interplay between philosophical, academic and technological research and society from both contemporary and historical perspectives. These included the relationship between the goals of academic activity and significant public objectives, the place of scholarly expertise in relevant public discussions and the ability of scholarship to meet the fundamental challenges of our time. More than 400 Russian and over 50 foreign scholars (from such countries as the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Germany) took part in 14 panel discussions and 9 roundtables.

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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 23 November 2020

1. Events held in the memory of Lyudmila Verbitskaya

St Petersburg University held the International Philological Conference in Memory of Professor Lyudmila Verbitskaya from 26 to 24 November 2020 (St Petersburg University opened a free open access to a book Let’s talk correctly! by Lyudmila Verbitskaya). The conference brought together over 1,100 scholars and researchers. This is twice more than last year as the conference was held in a distance mode.

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Minutes of the Rector's Meeting dated 16 November 2020

1. Organisation of teaching and learning

Last week, 73 enquiries from teachers as well as students and their parents, including 31 enquiries on academic issues, were sent to the Virtual Reception. 21 enquiries were sent to the email of Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods, including 19 enquiries on academic issues. The enquiries included requests for certificates and document copies, and questions on student residence and information systems’ work.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 6 November 2020

1. The conference of the work groups on ‘Politics and International Relations’ and ‘Economics, Trade and Resources’ of the KRD Forum

On 5 November 2020, a strategic conference of the work groups on ‘Politics and International Relations’ and ‘Economics, Trade and Resources’ of the Korea–Russia Dialogue Forum took place at St Petersburg University. The conference was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Russia. The event was held online.  

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 2 November 2020

1. Organisation of the learning process

Last week, 35 enquiries from teachers as well as students and their parents including 7 enquiries on academic issues were sent to the Virtual Reception. 16 enquiries were sent to the e-mail of Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods including 13 enquiries on academic issues. The enquiries included requests for certificates and other documents, questions on the procedures of transfer and reinstatement, financial aid requests, etc.  

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 26 October 2020

1. The commission for discussing the suggestions offered by Dr Yury Fedotov

Dr Yury Fedotov, Senior Vice-Rector for Medical Care and Director of the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University, applied to the University's Rector to open a department of postgraduate medical education and to set up an academic council of the Pirogov Clinic. The aim is to improve the quality and efficiency of education and research carried out in the Clinic. The Clinic has 16 Doctors of Sciences and 70 Candidates of Sciences (Medicine). These suggestions were discussed by the Academic Council of the Faculty of Medicine and the Academic Council of the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 19 October 2020

1. The University has five winners of the RSF - DFG joint competition for grants

The results of the fifth joint competition for grants from the Russian Science Foundation and German Research Foundation (DFG) have been announced. The competition was held within the priority field of research 'Fundamental Research and Exploratory Research by International Research Collaboration Teams'. Among the competition winners are 18 projects, including 5 projects proposed by scientists and scholars from the University. Three scientists work in the natural sciences and two in the humanities: A. Timoshkin, M. Vinarski, A. Saraev, L. Moskovkin, A. Filyushkin. The amount of each grant is six million roubles to be allocated annually. The implementation period of the research project is within 2021–2023 (The Russian Science Foundation will support 18 joint Russian–German projects). Our University has the best results among all research and educational institutions across Russia. No other institution has won more than one grant.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 12 October 2020

1. New members of the University Academic Council elected

On 21 September 2020, at a conference of research and teaching staff, a new University Academic Council was elected for a five-year period along with representatives of other categories of workers and students (Conference on the election of a new Academic Council of St Petersburg University).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 5 October 2020

1. Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Taking into account the revised version of the Resolution of the Government of St Petersburg No 121 'On Measures to Counteract the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in St Petersburg' dated 13 March 2020, additional measures the University should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were discussed at this Rector's meeting. All University employees working under civil law contracts and not participating in the technological processes necessary for the life of the University are transferred to the online mode of work. The same mode is maintained for academic staff aged 65+ and employees with chronic diseases.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 30 September 2020

1. A representative office of St Petersburg University at the University for Foreigners of Siena

A week ago, a representative office of St Petersburg University was opened in Siena, Italy. The office is housed at the University for Foreigners of Siena, a partner of St Petersburg University. This is the sixth foreign representative office of St Petersburg University and the second in Europe. The University uses its representative offices to organise various events, such as lectures, seminars, conferences, roundtable discussions, exhibitions of students' creative works, and joint competitions. The efficiency of the representative offices is reflected in the positions occupied by the University in the rankings, especially in such an indicator as internationalisation. Therefore, it is very important to organise the activities of the representative offices by filling their work with particular content. In this regard, Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs, asked the meeting participants to submit proposals on the activities that could be organised at the new representative office in Italy.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 14 September 2020

1. Influenza vaccination campaign

This year earlier than ever St Petersburg University has started the seasonal influenza mass vaccination. Influenza vaccination is the responsibility of territorial healthcare authorities. The University Rector addressed enquiries to concerned vice-governors to deploy mobile vaccination points on University campuses in Vasileostrovsky and Petrodvortsovy districts, so that students and staff could benefit from getting a vaccine near their homes, work or study place. The enquiry is still to be considered. Without further ado, the University approved the student vaccination schedule with Outpatient Clinic No 3 and its administration; vaccination points will be set up inside University buildings at 16/18 7th Line, Vasilyevsky Island. The vaccination schedule for another point at 35 Universitetsky prospect is pending approval with St Nikolas Hospital administration. Vaccination schedules will be tailored to the academic timetable and posted on the University website.

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