- Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
- Round-table discussion ’Problems of formation and fixation of student electronic portfolio of individual achievements’
- The procedure for the entry of international students into the Russian Federation for study purposes has been established
- Competition for the position of Deputy Head of the Auditing Department
- Merging of the University’s Palaeontology Museum and Palaeontological and Stratigraphic Museum
- Separate waste collection at the University
- ’Vestnik of St Petersburg University. Law’ registered with the Scopus Science Metrix database
- Damage done by students to the University property
- Dissemination of information on the activities of the University scientists in the media
1. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
Last week, the Virtual Reception received 32 enquiries from students and teachers including 19 enquiries on educational and methodological issues addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. 13 enquiries were sent to the e-mail of the Vice-Rector. There were requests on various topics: anti-epidemic measures; admissions; student transfer and reinstatement procedures; the entry of international students into the Russian Federation; English language testing; access to Coursera materials; the format of state final assessment; retaking of a test; interaction with academic office employees; teaching the discipline ’Modern Electronic Library Systems’; and online candidate’s examinations for an international student. All students’ questions are answered upon consultations with the heads of the appropriate research and academic subdivisions (institutes, faculties) and employees of various services of the University. Detailed explanations are given on the most pressing issues. For example, there was an enquiry from students of the main field of study ‘International Relations’ with a request to cancel state examinations for the fourth-year bachelor’s students. The students gave the worsening of the epidemiological situation as a reason. Last year, the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases led to a decision to cancel state examinations. Also, the students claim that they were not able to read well for their exams, and they are also afraid of any technical faults.
A response has been prepared for these students. It is noted in particular that there are no grounds for cancelling the state examination. Taking into account their personal factors, students may apply for either an academic leave or an individual learning timetable. A similar request was received from students enrolled in the Arts and Humanities programme, and they were prepared the same response.
It should be noted here that the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation has not made any changes to the rules for conducting state final assessment. The universities of St Petersburg are planning to conduct the 2021 state final assessment (SFA) in a different format (classroom-based, mixed, online), based on how the teaching and learning process was organised in the spring semester of 2021. If state examinations are included into the SFA programmes, they will be held.
Preparations for the state final assessment in various academic programmes are underway at the University. The assessment will be organised in the format proposed by the heads of the research and academic subdivisions. The heads of the Institute of Chemistry, the Institute of Pedagogy, the Institute of Antimonopoly Regulation, the Faculties of Law, Physics, Medicine, Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies, Arts, and the Medical College are for the solely classroom-based format. In addition, the classroom-based format was offered for the ’Fundamental Mathematics and Mechanics’ specialist’s degree programmes and the ’Physics and Astronomy’ aspirantura programmes.
The heads of the Faculties of Political Science, Sociology, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Control Processes, Asian and African Studies, the Institute of Earth Sciences proposed a mixed SFA format, involving a combination of the classroombased format and online technology using.
The heads of the Institutes of Philosophy, History, Cognitive Studies, the Graduate School of Journalism and Mass Communications, the Graduate School of Management, the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, the School of International Relations, the Faculties of Foreign Languages, Psychology, Economics, Mathematics and Mechanics, Biology, Philology, and the College of Physical Culture and Sports are for the online format. In addition, the online format has been proposed for the SFA programme in musical performance.
It should be noted that for all international students who, for objective reasons, do not have the opportunity to enter the territory of the Russian Federation to pass state final assessment, the final tests will be organised in a remote format using information and communication technologies.
In the near future, a local act on the organisation of state final assessment will be published. The dates of state examinations and defences are posted in the electronic timetable in accordance with the established procedure.
The current teaching and learning process (according to information from most heads of the academic subdivisions) is taking place as usual in accordance with the timetable, both in the online and mixed formats. Problems that arise are duly resolved.
There were enquiries typical for the current academic year. They were related to the format of classes. For example, there was a question asked by a second-year bachelor’s student in Arts and Humanities about the format of teaching in this spring semester. The student asks for an increase in the number of contact hours. At the same time, there was quite the opposite enquiry from students of philology last week — to keep the online format. Such issues are resolved taking into account the proposals of the heads of academic subdivisions and the particular situation in student groups. For example, for the students of psychology, the transition to a mixed format is being discussed, taking place mostly online, with occasional contact hours in some practical disciplines, with all anti-epidemic standards met and online access to classes for international students provided.
The Dean of the School of International Relations has again received enquiries from members of the student council. They asked questions about the algorithm for the entry of international students into the Russian Federation and about vaccination opportunities for international students. On 6 April, the classroom-based session in the ’Sociology of Profession’ discipline was cancelled by reason of the lecturer Liubov Lebedintseva’s illness (medical certificate submitted). Social science students were notified via an announcement in MS Teams. Classes were rescheduled to a later date in accordance with the timetable.
The directors and the deans presented their reports on meetings with representatives of the student community. Some heads of academic subdivisions either did not hold meetings with student councils over the past week (due to the lack of questions for discussion) or postponed them to a later date.
The members of the student council of the Institute of Earth Sciences asked when they would be informed about the format of interim assessment and whether the information in the timetable was up-to-date. The Director of the Institute explained that proposals for the organisation of interim assessment had been sent to the Academic Affairs Department, and the information in the electronic timetable was relevant and binding.
During the meeting of the Dean with the members of the student council of the Faculty of Sociology, some problems were identified. Not all sociology students observe the face mask mandate during classes. There are questions regarding the size of the classroom where mathematics classes were taught. As a result, mathematics classes were transferred to a different classroom, and the chairperson of the face mask mandate observance board was sent an enquiry to increase the number of checks during classes. Information on nonobservance of the face mask mandate should be sent to unmask@the University.ru. During a meeting with the First Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Physics, representatives of the student council said that the students were grateful for the opening of the snack point in the building located at 3 Ulyanovskaya St., which they asked for (Minutes of the Rector's Meeting dated 22 March 2021).
2. Round-table discussion ’Problems of formation and fixation of student electronic portfolio of individual achievements’
On 9 April, at the initiative of Nikolay Kropachev, Chair of the Association of Leading Universities, Chair of the Presidium of the Council of Rectors of the Universities of the Northwestern Federal District, the Association of Leading Universities of Russia, the Council of Rectors of the Universities of the Northwestern Federal District and St Petersburg University held a round-table discussion titled ’Problems of formation and fixation of student electronic portfolio of individual achievements’.
148 participants took part in the online round-table discussion, including ten representatives of state executive authorities: Deputy Head of the Presidential Directorate for Science and Education Policy Iuliia Linskaia; Deputy Head of the Federal Service for the Supervision in Education and Science Igor Kruglinskii; Vice-Governor of St Petersburg Irina Potekhina; Chairman of the Committee for Science and Higher Education of the Government of St Petersburg Andrey Maksimov; representatives of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation.
The discussion was attended by 138 representatives of higher education institutions — members of the Association of Leading Universities and the Council of Rectors of the Universities of the Northwestern Federal District. In their speeches, the representatives of the government authorities wholly supported the initiative of St Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov and Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev related to the phased introduction of the electronic portfolio of students’ achievements at Russian educational institutions. On 9 February in St Petersburg, at a meeting of the Minister of Education of the Russian Federation Sergei Kravtsov with the Governor of St Petersburg Alexander Beglov and the Rector of St Petersburg University, the Governor and the Rector proposed to introduce a portfolio of school student’s achievements at Russian schools and ensure the accessibility of such a portfolio for their parents. By the decision of the Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov, work has begun at the federal level to prepare for the implementation of various digital solutions that will allow accumulating and using information in the digital portfolio of school students’ achievements in order to motivate them to learn, support and develop their abilities, provide early career guidance, etc.
This issue has different aspects: pedagogical, technological, organisational, legal and others. It is especially important to ensure that the access to this data be available to those who are directly related to the development of school students’ abilities — their parents. This issue was recently discussed at the University at a meeting of the council of parents of the Academic Gymnasium named after D.K. Faddeev. The decision on the accessibility of the electronic portfolio of gymnasium students to their parents, proposed by the University administration, was approved by the parents.
In this regard, during the round-table discussion, it was decided to make the data of the digital portfolio of students of the Academic Gymnasium available to their parents in the near future.
Presentations were also made by representatives of St Petersburg University (presentation by Aleksandr Babich, presentation by Maxim Rukinov, presentation by Elena Kazakova), National Research Tomsk State University (presentation by Iuliia Smetanova), National Research University ’Moscow Power Engineering Institute’ (MPEI) (presentation by Elena Makarevich), Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping (presentation), St Petersburg State Chemical Pharmaceutical University (presentation by Irina Titovich), Siberian Federal University (presentation by Kirill Zakharin) and Far Eastern Federal University (presentation by Evgenii Ledkov). The representatives of our University presented a model of the student digital portfolio, which is currently used at the University (presentation by Aleksandr Babich), and unique developments of the University’s Distributed Ledger Technologies Centre, which make it possible to work with student portfolios in an optimal way according to the two-key principle. Nikolay Kropachev, Chair of the Association of Leading Russian Universities, suggested that the universities participating in the discussion implement the information system created at St Petersburg University for the formation of student digital portfolios. Our Rector highlighted that the University was eager to transfer that technology to other universities free of charge. Immediately, the heads of several universities asked for such transfer and received a positive response from the Rector. Mr Kropachev also urged the representatives of universities that have gymnasiums or are in partnerships with schools to experimentally grant access to the digital portfolios of students to their parents, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. That would effectively support the initiative of St Petersburg University.
Based on the results of the discussion, the following proposals were formulated:
- to the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation — on the need to develop and implement requirements for the student digital portfolio
- to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education — on the need to introduce a digital portfolio at Russian universities
- to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation — on the need to introduce a barcode in diplomas of education and documents on awarding an academic degree and academic title
- on the need to introduce, under the control of the Ministry of Education, an electronic portfolio at schools, gymnasiums, educational organisations of higher education — members of the Association of Leading Universities and members of the Council of Rectors of the Universities of the Northwestern Federal District
3. The procedure for the entry of international students into the Russian Federation for study purposes has been established
In accordance with Order of the Russian Government No 639-r dated 16 March 2021, a special procedure for the entry of international students into the Russian Federation study purposes has been established. Citizens of foreign countries with a low prevalence of COVID-19 may enter the territory of the Russian Federation for study purposes. These countries are listed in Appendix No 1 to Order of the Russian Government No 639-r dated 16 March 2021. That list is updated based on the decisions of the emergency response centre to prevent the import and spread of the novel coronavirus disease in the Russian Federation.
In this regard, special Guidelines on the current procedure for the entry of international students into Russian Federation have been developed by the University. The information is published on the University website (The current procedure for the entry of foreign students into the Russian Federation) and will be updated as new countries ’open’.
As of the day of the Rector’s Meeting (15 April 2021), the Russian Federation may be entered by international students who are citizens of the following countries: Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Venezuela, Vietnam, Germany, Greece, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, Maldives, United Arab Emirates, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Finland, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, South Korea, South Ossetia, and Japan.
Currently, there are about 5,000 international students at the University, of which more than 2,100 are first-year students enrolled during the pandemic and restrictive measures, including measures in the field of international air traffic. Taking into account the amendments made on 16 March 2021 and allowing entry into the Russian Federation for study purposes by foreign citizens from the list of open countries (currently from 31 countries), a part of international students, including first-year students, may arrive at the University. About 1,400 people are expected. At the same time, the number of vacancies in halls of residence exceeds these figures (more than 1,700 places). Applications for entry and accommodation are being monitored. The University has a sufficient number of places for a mandatory three-day observation before receiving the results of the PCR test upon arrival of foreigners in the Russian Federation.
Work is also underway to create a specialised section of the website with comprehensive information for international students (a list of countries allowed for the entry of international students; the procedure for being accommodated at and living in the observation facility; organising the teaching and learning process under the persisting risk of the coronavirus disease spread; medical support: a recommended list of points for COVID-19 testing, COVID-19 vaccination opportunities, etc.; employment of international students who have encountered financial problems due to the coronavirus pandemic).
Arrival in St Petersburg is recommended for students of programmes where training is currently conducted in a mixed or classroom-based format.
Before arriving in Russia, international students must notify the University thereof at least ten days in advance, through their Personal Accounts (the application form ‘Entry into the Russian Federation’ includes a copy of the international passport and a questionnaire). On that ground, the data of students is transmitted through the Public Services Portal of the Russian Federation (‘Gosuslugi’) to the departmental segment of the Russian Ministry of Digital Development of the state system of migration and registration. Students can track the status of their application and discover when they may cross the border. Entry is possible through land, sea, air and mixed checkpoints. In addition, students from the ’allowed’ countries who have submitted an application and are included in the lists through the Russian Public Services Portal may enter the territory of the Russian Federation, including their transit through ’closed’ countries. Earlier (before the issuance of Order No 639-r) this was not provided.
No earlier than three calendar days before entering the Russian Federation, the student must take a PCR test for COVID-19 and, if the result is negative, receive an appropriate document in Russian or in English in their country of residence. Within 72 hours after entering the Russian Federation, international students must take a second PCR test. Until they receive their test results, such international students must self-isolate at their place of residence. International students are not allowed to classroom-based studies without a second test.
Arrival of international academic staff in the Russian Federation, according to Order No 635-r, is currently allowed only for the category of highly qualified specialists (HQS). In accordance with the algorithm approved by the emergency response centre to prevent the import and spread of the novel coronavirus disease, an application for the inclusion of international HQS in the list for the border police through the Russian Public Services Portal must be sent by the university to the federal executive authority, which the university is subordinate to. The federal executive authority examines the request and enters data regarding the international HQS through the Russian Public Services Portal. Our University has been implementing this procedure since autumn 2020.
4. Competition for the position of Deputy Head of the Auditing Department
Since 2013, the University has been using the practice of appointing administrative and managerial staffing based on the results of a competitive selection. For example, by Order No 2382/1 dated 26 March 2021, a competition was announced to fill the position of Deputy Head of the Auditing Department. The qualification requirements and job description are posted on the University website in the Job Opportunities section.
The competition is open, therefore, the directors and the deans, if they have any proposals, are invited to inform the specialists of the Personnel Department. The deadline for submitting documents is 26 April 2021.
5. Merging of the University’s Palaeontology Museum and Palaeontological and Stratigraphic Museum
In 1868 Aleksandr Inostrantsev, the first professor of geology at our University, organised a geological cabinet to teach a new course in historical geology. The tasks of the cabinet included the formation of collections on the leading fossils required to compare contemporaneous rocks in remote areas (the biostratigraphic method used to determine the relative age of sedimentary rocks). This method is still used to predict the deposits of coal, oil and other minerals located in the sedimentary cover of the Earth’s crust. At the same time, the geological cabinet of Aleksandr Inostrantsev was replenished with scientific monographic collections that included standard samples, which served as the basis for describing new species of extinct organisms. Now the palaeontological collections initiated by Professor Inostrantsev as part of the geological cabinet are kept in the Palaeontological and Stratigraphic Museum located in the Twelve Collegia building.
In 1919, due to the urgent need for geological exploration of the USSR’s subsoil, a demand arose for training palaeontologists specialising in particular groups of extinct organisms, for more accurate predictive modelling of deposits of various minerals. At the initiative of Professor Mikhail Yanishevsky, the Department of Palaeontology was organised at the Geological Faculty of the University. It was there (in the building located at 29 16th Line, Vasilyevsky Island) that educational collections required for teaching palaeontological courses to students began to be organised. Despite the initial educational orientation of the collections of the Palaeontology Museum, the academic staff working at the department began collecting scientific monographic and regional collections (used to characterise rocks of the regions of the USSR when drawing up geologic sections and maps) since the 1920s. At present, these collections are the core of the University’s Palaeontology Museum located at 29 16th Line, Vasilyevsky Island.
The current presentation of palaeontological collections as part of museums with different names complicates the implementation of the tasks of the Department of Exhibitions and Collections in organising the promotion of museums, monetising excursions, and also affects the teaching and learning process carried out using palaeontological and geological collections. The administrative merging of museums with palaeontological collections will make it possible to develop a unified strategy for the development and monetisation of the University’s Palaeontology Museum, as well as to increase the museum’s attractiveness for a wide range of visitors and expand the target audience.
The organisation of accounting and storage of items in both museums is carried out according to general principles, which is confirmed by the identity of inventory groups (according to the guidelines for the acquisition, accounting, storage and use of museum items and museum collections of St Petersburg University approved by Order No 8708/1 dated 29 September 2020): monographic collections, systematic collections, and regional collections. If the procedure for merging the two museums is carried out, the unified Palaeontology Museum of St Petersburg University will be registered in the State Catalogue of the Museum Fund of the Russian Federation.
The merger of the two museums will make it possible to optimise the staffing table of the Department of Exhibitions and Collections, since the Palaeontology Museum will not need a separate chief custodian position.
Classes for students of geology, geography, biology and history are regularly held in the halls of the two museums. If they merge, it is planned to provide excursion services to visitors of the exhibition located in the Twelve Collegia building, and transfer most of the classes to the 29 16th Line, Vasilyevsky Island. The historical exhibitions will be preserved in both venues and historical classrooms for teaching academic disciplines will be accessible (Room No 2007 — the memorial classroom of Vladimir Vernadsky; Room No 3003 in the Twelve Collegia building; Rooms No 52 and No 59 in the 29 16th Line, Vasilyevsky Island). The availability of classes in these classrooms will serve not only educational purposes, but also cultural and scientific inclusion of students in the history of the University and its natural science collections.
6. Separate waste collection at the University
On 1 January 2018, by Order of the Government of the Russian Federation No 1589-r dated 25 July 2018, a list of types of waste prohibited for burial was introduced. In 2011, St Petersburg University (long before separate waste collection became a nationwide trend) began implementing a system of separate waste collection on the territory of the University (’Green University’). The meeting addressed the results of the implementation of the Separate Waste Collection programme at the University in recent years.
Stages of work on the separate collection of waste at the University.
- 2011 — three types of waste: waste paper (book write-offs), scrap metal, mercury lamps (note that in the federal list of types of waste prohibited for burial waste paper started to be classified as such waste only from 1 January 2019)
- 2013 — five types of waste (+ batteries, chemicals). In the University halls of residence located in Botanicheskaya Street and Korablestroitelei Street eco-boxes were set up to collect batteries as part of the city’s hazardous waste collection programme. A system of control over the circulation of chemicals was introduced, expired chemicals were taken out for disposal, a system for collecting spent chemicals was introduced
- 2014 — eight types of waste (+ glass containers, PET plastic, accumulators). Active students of our University organised monthly separate waste collection campaigns at the halls of residence in Botanicheskaya Street. That was done within the framework of the city’s initiative ’Separate Waste Collection’
- 2015 — ten types of waste (+ foam, printing cartridges). In February 2015, the University’s Separate Waste Collection Programme was launched. On 7 March 2015, the first stationary eco-point for collecting recyclable materials was opened at the halls of residence in Botanicheskaya Street
- 2017 — 11 types of waste (+ rags)
- 2018 — 12 types of waste (+ tyres)
- 2020 — 13 types of waste (+ electric appliances). Within the framework of the national programme ’School of Recycling: Electric Appliances’ the University signed an agreement on gratuitous transfer of electronic waste for recycling
Since February 2015, St Petersburg University has been successfully implementing a Separate Waste Collection Plan of Action. It is primarily aimed at reducing the costs of disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) at landfills, their formation, as well as at strengthening the image of St Petersburg University as a ’green’, environmentally responsible university.
Currently, there are six stationary eco-points on the territory of St Petersburg University. There you can dispose of three or more fractions of recyclable materials. The rest of the facilities collect mainly waste paper and batteries. For the full map of St Petersburg University eco-points click here.
Over the five years of the programme (Chemical waste including strong poisons was removed in dozens of tons), the volume of waste disposed to the landfill decreased by 30% compared to 2014. The maximum share of recyclable materials in the total volume of municipal solid waste increased from 0.7% to 8 %. Since 2015, the University has sent more than 600 tons of recyclable materials for recycling. Since 2015, the University has earned over 3 million roubles from the sale of recyclable materials.
The achievements of St Petersburg University in promoting separate waste collection and environmental education were recognised in 2016 at the 13th competition ’Vladimir Vernadsky National Environmental Award’ in the category ’Urban Ecology’. In 2017 and 2018, the University student teams became prize-winners of the quests ’Razdeliai s nami’ (’Collect with Us’) and ’Lesomania’ (’Forest Mania’) organised by the Association of Green Universities. In 2020, through participating in the all-Russian programme ’School of Recycling: Electronics’, the University became the winner among higher education institutions in terms of the amount of electronic waste handed over for recycling.
Further plans for the implementation of the Separate Waste Collection Programme include searching for University-based organic waste recycling methods. One of the first steps to it is the ’Composting in the Botanical Garden of St Petersburg University’ subprogramme aimed at composting leaf litter, using it for the needs of the Botanical Garden and assessing the suitability of using the leaves of city trees for these purposes.
The University is also planning further development and modernisation of the eco-point network of and expansion of the range of waste collected separately (for example, different types of plastic).
1. Nika Film Award winner – Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University
For information about the environmental activity of the University visit the University website on the Green University page. You can also search the website using the hashtag #ecology.
The University students and staff are actively involved in introducing environmental initiatives into the daily life of the University. Thus, at the suggestion of the students of the Liberal Arts and Sciences programme made after negotiations between the employees of the lease agreement department with the company that installs vending machines, it became possible to pour coffee into your own mug in the University coffee machines and not into an unrecyclable disposable cup.
Our students do not forget about environmental education. The University regularly hosts environmental events of various formats: from volunteer clean-ups to quests. You can get up-to-date information, as well as join the implementation of environmental initiatives, by visiting our VKontakte page EcoSPbU.
7. ’Vestnik of St Petersburg University. Law’ registered with the Scopus Science Metrix database
On 7 April, the scholarly journal ’Vestnik of St Petersburg University. Law’ (Editor-inchief Professor Nikolai Stoiko) was registered with the Scopus Science Metrix international database. This is the second scientometric international database that recognised our journal on jurisprudence as an international journal: it has already been registered with the Web of Science database since 2017.
Scopus experts noted that the journal had good marks in most Russian database, and registration with Scopus would help increase its recognition at the international level. There are 751 journals in Scopus in the field of Law, including three Russian ones (0.4%), taking into account the inclusion of the ’Vestnik of St Petersburg University’ and the recent exclusion of the ’Russian Journal of Criminology’. The Web of Science Emerging Source Citation Index lists 273 journals in Law, including seven Russian journals (2.6%). The RSCI database in ’State and Law. Legal Sciences’ includes 1,075 Russian journals.
Currently, 19 out of 30 scholarly journals of St Petersburg University have been registered in international scientometric databases: 14 of them are in the Web of Science and 17 journals are in Scopus (including the recently listed ’Medialinguistics’ (Editor-in-chief — Professor Liliia Duskaeva) and ’Vestnik of St Petersburg University. Economics’(Editor-in-chief — Professor Aleksandr Liakin), which was reported earlier (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 5 April 2021).
The Scopus database also lists ’The Baltic Region’ journal co-founded by St Petersburg University and Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University. According to the rules of the international databases, Scopus reports show the publisher, that is, the Baltic University. At the same time, when our University is asked by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education to submit statistics, we list this journal as a registered one, since we are its cofounder.
A total of 1,160 journals in Economics (Economics, Econometrics and Finance) are registered with Scopus, including 18 Russian journals (1.6%). There are 1,659 journals in Business (Business, Management and Accounting), including five Russian ones (0.3%). The Web of Science database lists 188 journals in Economics, including ten Russian journals (5.3%), 575 journals in Economics and Business, including 14 Russian journals (2.4 %).
The RSCI database includes 1,383 Russian journals in Economics and Economic Sciences.
8. Damage done by students to the University property
The University improves the living conditions of students at the halls of residence on an ongoing basis. Buildings and premises are renovated to be kept in proper condition. At the same time, there were and, unfortunately, still are cases related to damage done to the University premises and property on the part of our students. Glasses, doors, false ceiling slabs and fire extinguishers are the items most commonly affected by vandals. In 2020, when more than 50% of residents had left their halls of residence due to the pandemic, the level of such incidents did not change versus 2019.
The new academic semester began with another act of vandalism. On 28 February, during a floor-by-floor inspection, employees of the University Security Department discovered damage done to the kitchen doors on the eighth floor of Hall of Residence No 14 located at 64/2 Botanicheskaya Street.
When checking video recordings from the surveillance cameras, it was established that at about 4am, two unknown persons in hooded clothes hiding their faces struck several blows on the doors with their feet. The survey of residents brought no results. The doors were repaired in a short time, with 31,300 roubles spent. The meeting participants noted that all the funds that the University was forced to regularly spend on eliminating the consequences of vandalism could be spent on improving the living conditions at the halls of residence. Also, the directors and the deans expressed their hope that the residing students would help them find the vandals.
9. Dissemination of information on the activities of the University scientists in the media
In 2020, the University’s press service prepared over 220 press releases leading to over 86,000 mentions of the University in the media.
The statistics of neutral and positive references to the University in the Russian media demonstrate a significant increase in the University’s recognition and an increase in public attention to the achievements of the University:
- in 2016 — over 32,000
- in 2019 — over 80,000
- in 2020 — over 86,000
In terms of the number of publications in the Russian media, the University is among the top three universities. At the same time, unlike many Russian universities, our University, as a matter of principle, does not use any tools of paid promotion in the media.
In 2020, both Russian and foreign media began to demonstrate more attention to scientific news from St Petersburg University. Here are some examples:
- The team of the Center for Algorithmic Biotechnology and Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at St Petersburg University Alexey Yakovlev became (according to the RBC Group) ’Heroes of the Year’. They manifested themselves as bright scholars in solving the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic
- Physicist, Professor at St Petersburg University Alexey Kavokin became a nominee in the category ’Person of the Year’ at the annual Fontanka.ru Award
- According to RIA Novosti, the news about our crystallographers who had found natural cyclophosphates in the Dead Sea became one of the main achievements of Russian science in 2020
- The top 10 Russian discoveries and developments in 2020 (according to Vesti.ru) includes the NeuroPrint technology developed by St Petersburg University scientists
- The top 10 brightest scientific discoveries of 2020 (according to the Indicator) is the discovery of amyloids in plants. St Petersburg University scientists also took part in this project
- And of course, Ilya Kolmanovsky and Irina Shikhman discussed the scientific sensations of 2020 including the discovery made by the University scientists and related to the Rhizocephala manipulations
There has been a significant increase in the number of publications about the University initiated by the press service in international media:
- in 2019 — over 30
- in 2020 — over 530 (an increase by more than 17-fold!)
The most famous international media include the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, DPA, FoxNews. On an ongoing basis — the leading popular science resources: Phys.org, IFL Science, News- medical, Bioengineer.org, Science Codex, SciTechDaily, Breaking News, X-mol.com, Medical Xpress, Neuroscience news, ScienMag, Geology Page, Agenparl, and many others.
The geography of publications about our University includes: Russia, France, Portugal, USA, China, India, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Finland, Italy, Ukraine, Indonesia, Brazil, Cuba, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, Uzbekistan, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Australia , Pakistan, Brazil, Austria, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Egypt, Jordan, South Africa, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Poland, Albania, Serbia, Costa Rica, Korea, Montenegro, Tunisia, New Zealand , Bulgaria, Greece, Taiwan, Turkey, Vietnam, Singapore, Romania, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, and Saudi Arabia.
For comparison, we note that, according to the researchers of the Russia Today International Information Agency, the top 10 Russian universities included in the 5–100 programme (it does not include St Petersburg University and Moscow State University), in terms of the number of publications in the English-language media in 2020, is as follows:
- Higher School of Economics — 1,625 publications
- National University of Science and Technology ‘MISiS’ — 583 publications
- Far Eastern Federal University — 255 publications
- Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, MIPT — 187 publications
- RUDN University — 185 publications
- Sechenov University — 183 publications
- ITMO University — 125 publications
- Tomsk State University — 117 publications
The staff of the information service of the University noted a number of scientists who actively interacted with them throughout the year: Sergei Belov, Raul Gainetdinov, Victor Zakharov, Nikolay Kuznetsov, Ivan Kuzmin, Alla Lapidus and her colleagues, Pavel Musienko, Andrew Ostrovsky, Alexey Potekhin, Lidiia Soprun, Pavel Skutchas, and many others.
Unfortunately, it is the employees of our PR Department that are more often the initiators of interaction with scientists. Yet, it can be noted that from year to year the number of academic staff who themselves inform the University press service about their achievements is growing. They also advise the press service on participation in major events. It is very pleasant that the staff of the University Clinic have also joined this process.