Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting

No. 519
04.04.2022

    Positions of St Petersburg University in "The Three University Missions" rankings by subject

    On 30 March, the results of the pilot project on developing subject rankings in "The Three University Missions" ranking system were published (St Petersburg University becomes the vice-champion of the "medal standings" of the Three University Missions Rankings).

    The results were provided in 29 fields of study. The published materials include information only about the top 20 universities. Among the participants of subject rankings, St Petersburg University was listed in the published materials 16 times. The University was among the three leaders in 13 nominations taking first place in the ranking in the field of "Law", second place in the fields of "Biology", "Geography", "History and Archaeology", "Linguistics and Foreign Languages", "Mathematics", "Psychology", "Sociology", "Chemistry", third place in the fields of "Geology", "Management", "Philology and Journalism", "Economics", fourth place in the fields of "Information Technology", "Medicine", "Physics" appearing in all rankings by subject. Thus, St Petersburg University took at least the fourth place in all 16 rankings by subject, for which it was nominated. It takes second place (after Lomonosov Moscow State University) in the top 3 rankings by subject.

    The top 3 of all 29 subject ranking (the so-called medal count) featured ten universities no less than three times (Table 1).

    The top 5 of rankings by subject featured 16 universities no less than three times (Table 2).

    The methodology of rankings by subject is based on the general approach to "The Three University Missions" ranking that suggests using objective criteria when assessing the three university missions: educational, research and social. Similar to other rankings, every subject ranking has access criteria:

    1. the university admits first-year students in the relevant academic programmes (bachelor’s programme and specialist’s programme)
    2. the number of students in these fields (specialities) should exceed the threshold value within the range from 100 to 200 people

    Rankings by subject use various criteria and weighting factors to account for the characteristics of various fields of activity (Appendix). The final list of the best universities based on the fields of study has 20 positions. The list excludes the fields of "Nuclear Physics and Nuclear Technologies" (11) and "Technologies in Consumer Goods Manufacturingм (7), where the number of universities meeting the participation criteria is less than 20.

    The objective analysis of the pilot project results revealed the multidisciplinary nature of federal universities (Table 3).

    The 14 universities included in the top 20 in the rankings by subject over ten times include the following: six federal universities with four universities leading in this criterion (the Ural Federal University, Kazan Federal University, Far Eastern Federal University and Southern Federal University). Thus, it can be stated that competition among the leading universities is increasing in the part of providing opportunities to get high-quality, interdisciplinary education. However, if you list the same universities in descending order of the mead score, it becomes clear that the leaders of rankings by subject take precedence in the approved quality of education (Table 4).

    Publishing rankings by subject significantly increases the possibilities of "The Three University Missions" system in the part of assessing the effectiveness of educational institutions and, consequently, forms a tool that supports decision making on their further development. The latter includes funding in the fields related to the disciplines demonstrating significant progress. Thus, the results received by St Petersburg University require a more detailed analysis.

    For example, St Petersburg University took first place in the field of "Law" (100 points), second place was taken by the Higher School of Economics with 97.22 points, third — by Lomonosov Moscow State University with 94.33 points. The remaining universities had under 80 points. The difference in points between the first and second place is small. In "Psychology", Higher School of Economics takes first place with 100 points, St Petersburg University takes second place with 98.05 points, Lomonosov Moscow State University takes third place with 87.74 points, and the remaining universities have under 79 points. Here the difference in points is even smaller, and it is not in our favour. Similar intensive competition in the top part of the ranking was observed in the fields of "Information Technologies" (Lomonosov Moscow State University — 100, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology — 99.6, ITMO University — 98.84, St Petersburg University — 98.22, Higher School of Economics — 97.09, other universities — under 89), "History and Archaeology" (Lomonosov Moscow State University — 100, St Petersburg University — 98.8, Higher School of Economics — 90.78, other universities — under 76), "Linguistics and Foreign Languages" (Lomonosov Moscow State University — 100, St Petersburg University — 98.22, Higher School of Economics — 89.19, other universities — under 74), "Philology and Journalism" (Lomonosov Moscow State University — 100, Higher School of Economics — 97.19, St Petersburg University — 94.97, other universities — under 72), "Mathematics" (Lomonosov Moscow State University — 100, St Petersburg University — 92, Higher School of Economics — 85.6, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology — 78.84, other universities — under 64), "Physics" (Lomonosov Moscow State University — 100, Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology — 88.99, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute — 87.22, St Petersburg University — 86.12, other universities — under 73), "Geology" (Lomonosov Moscow State University — 100, Saint Petersburg Mining University — 89.63, St Petersburg University — 89.51, National University of Science and Technology MISIS — 81.72, other universities — under 70), "Sociology" (Higher School of Economics — 100, St Petersburg University — 94.57, Lomonosov Moscow State University — 85.54, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration — 79.74, other universities — under 61), "Management" (Higher School of Economics — 100, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration — 89.78, St Petersburg University — 88.28, Lomonosov Moscow State University — 83.34, Financial University — 82.53, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics — 80.37, other universities — under 75), "Economics" (Higher School of Economics — 100, Lomonosov Moscow State University — 90.53, St Petersburg University — 89.55, Financial University — 88.21, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration — 83.25, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics — 82.78, other universities — under 74). Thus, the published rankings by subject —demonstrate not only a larger number of universities offering cross—disciplinary education, but also objective competition among prominent universities for leadership in the relevant fields.

    Directors of institutes and deans of faculties were given personal tasks to develop plans of activities aimed at promoting St Petersburg University in the rankings by subject — in ‘The Three University Missions’ system taking into account the specific nature of the field and team achievements.

    Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process

    Last week, the Virtual Reception received eight enquiries addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities. Twelve enquiries were registered in the student enquiry register.

    According to the majority of the research and scientific subdivisions, the classes are delivered in due order following the timetable.

    Following the information from the Dean of the School of International Relations, the students of some groups report difficulties in the process of changing the timetable and introducing on-campus classes. Combining classes with the use of information and communication technologies with on-campus classes requires larger breaks between classes in different formats or a need to distribute the classes in different formats on different days. The issue is being resolved by adjusting the timetable.

    The Dean of the Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty received an inquiry from a student with a request to reconsider the grade given by an assessment committee at the resitting of an examination. According to the student, the procedure of the examination was violated: the committee members did not listen to his response together, while the resitting itself lasted longer than required by the standards. The committee members provided clarifications that the student was not able to answer a single question, provided no reasoning and demonstrated complete ignorance in the field, as well as showed disrespect to the committee and allowed unacceptable statements after the grade had been voiced. Following the results of the inspection, no violations were found in the procedure of holding the examination in "Algebra". No reasons for the cancellation of the examination results were found.

    The meetings with the students (representatives of the student councils, student research communities and group leaders) were not held by some heads of subdivisions, while many subdivisions held such meetings.

    At the meeting with the Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Biology and the students, the supervisor of practical work informed the participants about the meeting with the first—year students of a bachelor’s programme attended by the course leaders, some group leaders and the action group members, who had previously requested to reconsider the distribution of students among groups for practical work in the summer. It was resolved that the students will draft lists with their proposals on the locations of practical work to be further considered during the distribution of students.

    As for the transition to offline studies in particular disciplines for third- and fourth-year students, the students were explained the following: this process requires substantial timetable adjustments, which takes time, so the format of studies in the blocks of particular disciplines will be changed in a special order. All the changes will be reflected in the electronic timetable, and the students will be informed about them in due time.

    At the meeting with the Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts and the representatives of the Student Council, it was discussed if the students can access computer classrooms and project workrooms at 15, 6th Line of Vasilyevsky Island. The students need access to those rooms during the self—study time due to the need to develop course and diploma projects. The participants discussed the question of providing safety of the costly equipment and the possibility of working there without a teacher’s supervision. To solve this issue, the head of the academic and research subdivision should send an administrative note to the address of the Deputy Rector for Security approved by the custodian in charge of this equipment.

    The Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences discussed with the students the issue of transferring classes in the ‘Foundations of Mineralogy’. Previously, practical classes in the ’Foundations of Mineralogy’ of the degree programme "Soil Science" were transferred to a later time period due to the coronavirus restrictions. It was also decided to hold practical classes and workshops in the ‘Foundations of Mineralogy’ in the in—person mode. The first class took place on 25 March 2022. However, due to the high academic load of students at the present moment, the classes may be distributed throughout the semester to balance out the load.

    The director of the Institute of Earth Sciences informed the students of the degree programme "Polar and Marine Research" that all students of the "POMOR" academic programme are fully legitimate students of St Petersburg University. The students will take all the required lectures and workshops delivered by Russian specialists instead of German teachers till the end of the term. The students were proposed to share their preferences on the locations of practical activity within one week following the established list of organisations and locations for such activity. Following the existing inquiries from students on the issues of money transfer caused by the illicit restrictions of unfriendly countries, the decisions on deferring and rescheduling the payments were taken. In the near future, the Deputy Rector for Legal Affairs and the Deputy Rector for International Affairs will send inquiries to the international university that severely violated the terms of the agreement on cooperation causing harm to the state budget and fee—paying students, teachers of the academic programme, St Petersburg University in general. The issue of sending an appeal to the court is under consideration (Minutes of the meeting held by the Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences).

    At the meeting with the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Physics, students inquired about the format of the summer interim assessment in "English". It is planned to hold the test in a classroom format.

    At the meeting with the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts of Sciences, the Chairperson of the Student Council inquired if it is possible to take part in the final assessment remotely. In case of objective reasons, students should send a relevant request to the Head of the academic office or Deputy Head of the academic division in the relevant field.

    At the meeting with the students, the Dean of the School of International Relations informed the students of the decision taken at the meeting with the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities about an increase in the number of on-campus classes (practical classes and classes in elective courses) in the academic and research subdivisions that provide for a hybrid format. Starting 31 March 2022, classes in a second foreign language will be delivered on-campus and starting 1 April 2022, classes in elective courses in bachelor’s programmes will be held on campus.

    At the meeting with the representatives of the Student Councils, student scientific societies , and group leaders, the Dean of the Faculty of Sociology informed the students that starting 4 April 2022, the entire academic process will be held on campus. A hybrid format will be used in the groups with international students located outside St Petersburg.

    Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process as well as other issues were discussed at the meetings with the representatives of the student councils, student scientific societies and group leaders and the heads of the Institute of History, the Faculty of Economics, the School of International Relations, the Faculty of Asian and African Studies, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Physics, the Faculty of Political Science, the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes, the College of Physical Training and Sports, Economics and Technology (the minutes of the meetings were not provided for publication), the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Faculty of Philology.

    The meetings of the heads of the Institute of Philosophy, the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies with the students were held.

    The information on the interaction with the student councils was not received from the management of the Graduate School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Graduate School of Management and the Medical College.

    Samples and descriptions of certificates confirming university education and qualifications were approved

    According to the Order of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation No 140 dated 14 February 2022 ‘On introducing changes in the attachment to the order of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation № 645 dated 22 July 2021 "On approving the samples and descriptions of certificates confirming university education, qualifications and supplements thereto"’, changes were introduced into the numbering of the samples of supplements to the bachelor’s diploma, bachelor’s diploma with honours, specialist’s diploma, specialist’s diploma with honours, master’s diploma, master’s diploma with honours, diploma on completing an aspirantura programme, diploma on completing a military aspirantura programme: five-digit numbers were replaced with seven-digit numbers.

    The content of the bachelor’s diploma, bachelor’s diploma with honours, specialist’s diploma, specialist’s diploma with honours, master’s diploma, master’s diploma with honours, diploma on completing an aspirantura programme, diploma on completing a military aspirantura programme has not changed.

    The order will come into force starting 1 September 2022.

    Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities, reminded that starting 2010, graduates of St Petersburg University will receive diplomas based on the internal standard of St Petersburg University (Own forms of education certificates; What the diploma of St Petersburg University tells about). In the Russian Federation, this opportunity is provided by Federal Law № 259-FZ dated 10 November 2009 "On Lomonosov Moscow State University and St Petersburg University". The form of the St Petersburg University diploma is determined by the Rector’s Order № 1015/1 dated 13 May 2010 "On approving the form of certificates confirming higher professional education at St Petersburg University" (with amendments and additions) and the Rector’s Order № 1016/1 dated 13 May 2010 "On approving technical requirements to the certificates confirming higher professional education at St Petersburg University" (with amendments and additions). Supplements to the diploma of St Petersburg University have the series represented with letters and the number of six digits (for example, AA 087756). The amount of information about the graduates in the diplomas of St Petersburg University is constantly increasing.

    Meeting of the Rector with the Praesidium of the Student Council at St Petersburg University

    On 21 March, a meeting of the Rector with the Praesidium of the Student Council at St Petersburg University took place. The meeting was attended by all members of the Praesidium of the Student Council at St Petersburg University as well as by the Senior ViceRector for Youth Policy and Admissions. The meeting lasted for over three hours.

    It was devoted to the issues of continuously increasing the openness of the University activity. Besides, the students suggested discussing the issues related to holding interim assessments with the use of the invigilation system and disciplinary measures towards the people penalised under administrative law.

    Within the framework of the openness policy, the University regularly publishes the information on the issues discussed at the Rector’s meetings available to every University staff member and student. Students take part in various collective bodies and committees formed at the University, including permanent committees of the Academic Council. As members of these collective bodies, students can exercise their rights, including the activity aimed at increasing the openness of these collective bodies.

    As for the proposal to create a committee on student affairs of the Academic Council, the Rector inquired with the members of the Praesidium if they are aware of the list of questions considered by this committee. During its existence, the Committee considered the issue of the Provision on the Student Council at St Petersburg University, the issue of the criteria for granting an increased state academic scholarship and several other issues currently considered by the Student Council at St Petersburg University. The members of the Praesidium of the Student Council at St Petersburg University said that they did not study the list of questions considered by the committee. It was discussed that the issues related to students’ rights can be considered by the currently operating committees of the Academic Council and the Student Council at St Petersburg University, while forming another committee with unclear competence is inexpedient.

    As for the meetings of the representatives of the Student Council at St Petersburg University with the officials, it was discussed that if there are issues that need to be discussed, the officials are ready to meet and discuss them. At the same time, holding unprepared meetings with no agenda, elaborated issues and topics researched by all the meeting participants will not contribute to solving such issues.

    As for the Virtual Reception, it was discussed that the answers to the questions in the Virtual Reception are given only by the University staff. Since the Сhairperson of the Student Council at St Petersburg University is not a staff member, he or she cannot be entitled to give answers to the inquiries in the Virtual Reception.

    It was also reported that the Сhairperson of the Student Council at St Petersburg University is invited to the meetings of the Admission Committee at St Petersburg University and has already visited the meetings. It was noted that the participation in the Admissions Committee at St Petersburg University is a right and not a duty of the Сhairperson of the Student Council at St Petersburg University. In the previous years, chairpersons of the Student Council at St Petersburg University visited the meetings of the Admissions Committee irregularly or did not visit them at all. The current Сhairperson of the Student Council has never contacted the Admissions Committee to invite him or her to the meeting.

    As for the issue of taking disciplinary measures towards the students penalised under administrative law, the Rector mentioned to the members of the Praesidium of the Student Council at St Petersburg University that the students can attend meetings, where they can give relevant clarifications (as reported at the Rector’s meeting on 14 March 2022). At the same time, those students, who had said that they would not take part in unauthorised events again, will not be imposed disciplinary measures in the form of expulsion.

    Following students’ initiative, the issue of using the invigilation system during tests and examinations was discussed in detail at the meeting.

    Besides, the participants discussed the time periods required for the Student Council at St Petersburg University to consider by-laws of the University and draft orders on imposing disciplinary measures on students. It was suggested that the Student Council discuss the time period of 14 days (or a shorter time period) for considering such projects (Why was the information about the students, who had taken part in the meetings, hidden?). In this regard, Sergei Belov, Dean of the Faculty of Law, reminded that the draft of the Provisions on the Student Council at the Faculty of Law approved by the Student Council of the Faculty of Law and supported by the Academic Council of the Faculty of Law, has been under consideration by the Student Council at St Petersburg University since September 2021.

    Meetings with the students subjected to administrative liability

    As reported at the Rector’s Meeting dated 14 March 2022, the preparation of a draft order on disciplinary responsibility will be preceded by the meeting of a commission composed of the Deputy Rector for Legal Affairs, the Senior Vice-Rector for Youth Policy and Admissions, the Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and the Dean of the Faculty of Law. At this meeting, the students will be able to provide all the information that they have on the circumstances of what happened and to make a statement about an appeal of the decision or about the intention to appeal the decision to impose administrative penalties (if such an intention exists) or the outcome of the appeal.

    So far, the members of the committee have met with 20 students, 18 of whom said that they had been detained accidentally and had had no intention of participating in any unauthorised events. The other two students said they have friends and relatives in Ukraine and, as they were feeling distressed, they had decided to go to such an unauthorised event. All of the students said that they would never again participate in any unauthorised events.

    The Committee also looked into the students’ prior behaviour and learned that they had not previously been disciplined.

    The Committee will recommend disciplinary action in the form of a reprimand against these students.

    International activity of St Petersburg University

    The international activity of St Petersburg University has been analysed at recent Rector’s meetings (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 14 March 2022; Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 21 March 2022; Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 28 March 2022). As Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs, noted, a number of new events took place last week.

    Organisation of international cooperation under current conditions

    Since a number of European partners have suspended cooperation according to current agreements, there is a risk of violating the rights of St Petersburg University students, especially those of students involved in double-degree programmes. Of all such partners, only the University of Hamburg has announced that students will not be able to obtain a diploma from German universities participating in the Russian-German master’s programme in Polar and Marine Sciences (POMOR). This is an egregious violation of the terms in the agreement and of the students’ rights. All of the other partners have expressed their willingness to fulfil their obligations and allow students to complete their studies. Any decisions about future enrolment in these programmes will be made in keeping with instructions from the European governments.

    Upon receiving the first letters from partners about the suspension of cooperation, St Petersburg University Rector Nikolay Kropachev ordered that all violations of students’ rights and the rights of the University as a whole be monitored and that measures be taken in accordance with the law. In order to fulfil these instructions and to protect the rights of students and academic staff at the University, complaints are being prepared against partners on the non-performance of their obligations. In particular, a letter has been sent to the president of the University of Hamburg demanding compliance with the terms of the agreement and the rights of students, and informing him that an appropriate letter of claim is being prepared. Similar complaints are being prepared against publishers who refuse to honour their agreements to publish papers by St Petersburg University scholars.

    St Petersburg University has 1,056 cooperation agreements in force with foreign universities and government agencies, and also international organisations. As of 1 April 2022, the University has registered 56 letters on the suspension of cooperation from foreign partners in the following countries: Germany (14 letters), France (8), Finland (5), Belgium (5), Poland (4), the Netherlands (3), the Czech Republic (3), Spain (2), Estonia (2), Sweden (2), the United Kingdom (2), Lithuania (1), Norway (1), Denmark (1), Portugal (1), the United States (1) and Ukraine (1). Of these, four of them are letters of termination. In most of the letters, the partners refer to directives from government authorities, regret the suspension of cooperation, and hope that it will be resumed when the situation improves.

    Nevertheless, in order to provide opportunities of academic mobility for students and academic staff, efforts are being made to diversify academic mobility programmes with partners in friendly countries.

    The heads of the academic and research subdivisions have submitted proposals on foreign organisations and government agencies with which they feel it is advisable for the University to develop academic cooperation. The list of such partnerships includes organisations from the following countries: Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt, Qatar, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, India, Israel, Jordan, Cambodia, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, the UAE, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey and South Africa. Efforts have been made to work with organisations in these countries to establish partnerships or expand ones that already exist. The directors and the deans were instructed to send new proposals to the Deputy Rector for International Affairs in order to encourage and promote international initiatives of colleagues, especially those of young teachers.

    Results of a visit to the Republic of Uzbekistan

    As directed by the Rector, the Deputy Rector for International Affairs visited Tashkent (Republic of Uzbekistan) to hold working meetings in order to organise the activities of the St Petersburg University branch in that city and to establish new contacts. An agreement was signed with the Navoi Free Economic Zone (FEZ) to set up a representative office of St Petersburg University there. The purpose of opening such an office within the Navoi FEZ is to establish partnerships and develop cooperation with large industrial and high-tech companies in this zone. This cooperation will open the way for the University’s branch in Tashkent and the University as a whole to ensure effective partnerships with employers, their participation in the councils of academic programmes, the organisation of practical training for students and the commercialisation of research findings at St Petersburg University. It has been noted that for Uzbekistan, the key problems when it comes to the development of the national economy are a shortage of water resources (including treatment and control of water quality) and a lack of energy capacity. The University’s developments in these areas will receive support from the government of the Republic and will be introduced as quickly as possible through the organisation of experimental production in cooperation with the largest enterprises of Uzbekistan. The University’s representative office is the only such office in the Navoi FEZ.

    During the visit, a framework cooperation agreement was also signed with Diplomat University, a private university that includes a private secondary school where teaching is carried out exclusively in Russian. Thanks to intensive investment, a contemporary educational infrastructure has been established there, and the best teachers from all over Uzbekistan have been taken on. As part of this agreement to cooperate, it is planned to hold career guidance events and St Petersburg University Olympiads for schoolchildren, and also to collaborate in developing the University’s branch in Tashkent by offering double-degree programmes.

    In accordance with an initiative expressed by Sergey Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the need to open training centres for migrant workers in the country of their origin and prior to their arrival in Russia, St Petersburg University Rector Nikolay Kropachev has instructed that steps be taken to start up such a centre. The University has all the necessary resources and competencies to train and prepare foreign citizens for a comprehensive examination. A meeting was held with the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations of the Republic of Uzbekistan, at which representatives of the Ministry expressed support for such a project and noted the particular importance and relevance of this work in Uzbekistan, since it will protect migrants and their rights, which are often violated due to the prevalence of fraudulent schemes in the preparation of documents and the taking of the examination. Work on establishing such a centre has begun.

    Working meetings were also held with Komiljon Karimov, First Deputy Minister of Higher and Secondary Special Education, and Gulchekhra Rikhsieva, Rector of the Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies, in which Elvira Zeletdinova and Bella Gataeva participated via video link. The issues of preparing the premises in the building of the branch for the educational process in the 2022/23 academic year and filing an application for the registration and licensing of the branch were discussed at these meetings.

    A month of academic exchanges between St Petersburg University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology has begun

    On 1 April, the opening ceremony for a month of academic exchanges between St Petersburg University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology (third in the ranking of technological universities in China) was held, and it was attended by the following honoured guests: the Vice-Rector for International Affairs Mr Chen Jianguo, the Head of the International Department Mr Jie Chen, and the Dean of the Faculty of Energy Engineering.

    This month of academic exchanges includes a number of events:

    • a symposium on multi-phase flows and statistical physics (1 April)
    • a symposium on ethical issues of genome editing and neuro-enhancement (12-13 April)
    • a seminar on applied mathematics and data science (22-23 April)
    • a seminar on smart media-based health communication models in everyday life: the outlook for Russia and China (mid-April 2022, date yet to be agreed upon)
    • the 3rd International Symposium on New Methods of Medical Diagnosis and Treatment (end of April 2022, date yet to be agreed upon)
    • a symposium on photocatalytic and porous material technologies (end of April 2022, date yet to be agreed upon)

    All members of the University community may participate in these events.

    Changes in human resources

    Since September 2021, Ekaterina Dmitrikova, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Law, has been the Head of the Control and Revision Department. At her request, a decision has been taken to relieve her of these duties. In this short period of time, she has managed to accomplish much in the organisation of control and auditing activities at St Petersburg University, for which she has received a commendation from the Rector. On her recommendation, Maksim Kamenkov, previously Acting Deputy Head of the Control and Revision Department, has been appointed to take her place as Acting Head of the Control and Revision Department.

    Aleksandr Babich, Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Admissions has been appointed as the Senior Vice-Rector for Youth Policy and Admissions. Vladimir Savinov, Head of the Department for Youth Affairs, has been appointed to the post of Vice-Rector for Educational Activity, in which position he will be subordinate to the Senior Vice-Rector for Youth Policy and Admissions.

    Use of apartments in the residential building on Chicherinskaia Street

    The issue of allocating accommodation to postgraduate students has already been discussed at the Rector’s meetings on 31 January 2022 and 28 March 2022. This is part of the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan for 2021-2030, which includes measures to: support young scholars, create conditions for them to build a successful career in the field of science, technology and innovation, and increase the prestige of their scholarly endeavours (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 31 January 2022).

    As Vladimir Eremeev, Vice-Rector for Human Resources reported, in the residential building located at 2a Chicherinskaia Street, Peterhof, which is under the jurisdiction of St Petersburg University, there are four completely renovated apartments (two with two bedrooms and two with one bedroom), which by the summer will be fully furnished and suitable for living. It is proposed that in June, academic staff under the age of 35 who are experiencing housing difficulties be provided with these service apartments, on a competitive basis, in recognition of their outstanding scholarly achievements and for the duration of their contract with St Petersburg University.

    With the resumption of active cooperation with leading scholars throughout the world, as other apartments become available, service housing will be used to carry out the objectives formulated in the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan, which includes inviting eminent scholars to work at the University, with the aim of encouraging academic growth. The directors and the deans were instructed to submit specific proposals on the use of service housing to attract high-performing scholars in various academic fields.

    Meetings of heads of the academic and research subdivisions with heads of departments, students and the Trade Union representatives

    Regarding the issue of organising meetings between heads of academic and research subdivisions with heads of departments, representatives of the Trade Union, student activists (besides representatives of the Student Council, it should include course supervisors, heads of student scientific societies, volunteers, student clinics and other associations), such meetings being the responsibility of deans and directors and set out in their employment contracts, it should be noted that most heads give particular attention to meetings with students, course supervisors and heads of student associations.

    However, Vladimir Eremeev, Vice-Rector for Human Resources, reported that no such meetings had been organised in February by the heads of the Graduate School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Faculty of Arts, and the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science.

    At the same time, most of the heads, for various reasons, overlook discussions with the Trade union. Only six faculties (the Faculty of History, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Faculty of Sociology, the Faculty of Philology and the Faculty of Economics) out of 24 have held meetings with the Trade Union representatives.

    The deans of the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Biology and the Faculty of Arts held no meetings with the heads of departments in February.

    Detailed information on the number of such meetings by the heads of the academic and research subdivisions in February is presented in the table below:

    Subdivision

    Number of meetings with

     

    heads of departments

    students

    Trade union

    Graduate School of Management

    1

    1

    0

    Graduate School of Journalism and Mass Communication

    1

    0

    0

    Institute of History

    2

    4

    2

    Institute of Earth Sciences

    2

    2

    0

    Institute for Cognitive Studies

    1

    0

    0

    Institute of Pedagogy

    0

    0

    0

    Institute for Competition Development and Antimonopoly Regulation

    1

    0

    0

    Institute of Philosophy

    1

    3

    0

    Institute of Chemistry

    1

    1

    0

    Faculty of Biology

    0

    2

    0

    Faculty of Asian and African Studies

    2

    1

    0

    Faculty of Foreign Languages

    3

    1

    0

    Faculty of Arts

    0

    0

    0

    Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

    0

    0

    0

    Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty

    1

    1

    0

    Faculty of Medicine

    1

    1

    1

    School of International Relations

    1

    2

    0

    Faculty of Political Science

    1

    3

    0

    Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes

    1

    2

    0

    Faculty of Psychology

    5

    1

    0

    Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences

    1

    2

    1

    Faculty of Sociology

    1

    3

    1

    Faculty of Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies

    1

    3

    0

    Faculty of Physics

    1

    1

    0

    Faculty of Philology

    4

    4

    1

    Faculty of Economics

    2

    3

    2

    Faculty of Law

    0

    1

    0

    Subsequent to regular reports at rector’s meetings on compliance with the obligation to hold these meetings, the heads of the faculties of Sociology, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Philology, Economics, Medicine, and the Institute of History regularly conduct these meetings.

    Vladimir Eremeev once again stressed the importance of arranging these meetings and appointments. The analysis of the published materials allows students, their parents, and all staff members to receive essential and timely information, including the information needed to make managerial decisions, respond adequately and quickly to emerging problems and take appropriate measures to solve them.

    Funding of St Petersburg University in view of budget cuts

    Due to the difficult macroeconomic situation caused by unlawful restrictions imposed on Russia by unfriendly countries, the Government of the Russian Federation instructed the principal budgetary institutions (including St Petersburg University) to prepare and submit by 15 March 2022 their proposals on the reduction of budget allocations assigned to these institutions in accordance with the Federal Law on the federal budget for 2022 in the amount of at least 10% of the total budget provisions, except for social obligations to pay salaries, scholarships and payments to orphans. The amount of the sequestration for St Petersburg University has been significantly reduced and amounted to 247.6 million roubles after all the annual allowances to the University for educational services were excluded from the optimisation procedures.

    At the same time, the main budgetary institutions were able to submit requests for budgetary support to overcome the effects of illegal restrictions on Russia by unfriendly countries in an amount not exceeding the estimated 10% of the total budget provision. Taking the opportunity, St Petersburg University submitted a request for the same amount of 247.6 million roubles, supported by a rationale regarding the reduction of anticipated extra-budgetary revenues (due to a decrease in the number of students from European countries, and reduced international research collaboration to name just a few).

    According to the government protocol communicated to St Petersburg University, the University was the only budgetary institution to receive budgetary support, covering the full amount of the sequestration, approved by the Government of the Russian Federation. As a result, St Petersburg University maintained the entire amount of funding for 2022 (after reallocating it internally from the subsidy for the implementation of the Strategic plan to the subsidy for the state assignment in accordance with subsection 0706 "Higher Education").

    For reference: sequestration for such principal budgetary institutions as the Ministry of Education and Science, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, and the State Hermitage amounted to 17047. 8 million roubles, 1153.3 million roubles, and 410.1 million roubles, respectively. Some of the principal budgetary institutions (including Lomonosov Moscow State University) failed to submit proposals, and the Government of the Russian Federation initiated a compulsory procedure for forced optimisation of 10 %, with no additional support provided.

    It should be noted that the approval of the budget support to St Petersburg University was the result of lengthy consultations with the Russian Ministry of Finance, during which the University succeeded in justifying its estimates and underwent verification procedures, which included comparing data from the Federal Treasury on the financial situation of St Petersburg University with the statistics and reports provided by the University. In the light of the above, it is important to remember that inadequate handling of statistics and the preparation of feasibility reports in times of crisis may result in significant cuts in the University budget. Elena Chernova, Senior Vice-Rector, drew attention to the need to ensure maximum credibility in responding to topic-specific budget requests, especially in anticipation of the possible second and third rounds of sequestration.

    Organising money transfers from other countries for international students

    Following the instructions received from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, Elena Chernova informed of the options available to students to transfer money to Russia from abroad.

    Since the international payment systems Visa and MasterCard have announced the suspension of operations in the Russian Federation, cross-border transfers using Visa and MasterCard cards, if issued by Russian banks, are not available. This applies both to paying for purchases in foreign online shops and to using these cards abroad to withdraw money and pay for purchases.

    Transfers and payment services using Visa and MasterCard issued by foreign banks will not be available in Russia. It will not be possible to withdraw cash on these bank cards in Russia.

    Visa and MasterCard cards issued by Russian banks will continue to function in Russia until they expire. Cardholders will be able to use their cards for ATM transactions, card payments and card-to-card transfers in Russia. For payments in Russia, it is possible to use the MIR bankcard or the Faster Payments System of the Bank of Russia.

    Updates on cross-border money transfers to and from Russia:

    1. Mir cards for the countries where they are accepted: Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, South Ossetia and Abkhazia
    2. UnionPay International bankcards (China)
    3. traditional cross-border transfers on current accounts of citizens, except for accounts in Russian banks that have been disconnected from SWIFT: VTB, Bank Rossiya, FC Otkritie, Sovcombank, Promsvyazbank and Novikombank. Transfers can only be made from Russia to countries that have not joined the US and EU sanctions and close relatives in amounts not exceeding USD 5,000 a month
    4. money transfer systems such as Golden Crown (Zolotaya Korona) and Western Union. However, there are restrictions on the amount and terms of cross-border transfers, and the information should be checked on the websites or at their local offices processing such transfers

    Students are recommended to use one of the following methods:

    1. get a UnionPay International card (China) and forward the details for the transfer to your relatives
    2. contact Golden Crown or Western Union for information on the possibility of receiving a money transfer from your home country
    3. open an account with any Russian commercial bank that has not been sanctioned; after opening the account, it is necessary to request its bank details to transfer money via SWIFT and forward them to your relatives, who can then transfer money to this account from their account at a foreign bank

    After receiving the money in their Russian bank account, students can exchange it into roubles and pay with their Mir cards in Russia

    Students of St Petersburg University can open an account with the following banks: St Petersburg Bank, Raiffeisen Bank and UniCredit Bank. Detailed information is available at: Money transfers from abroad for international students in Russia.

    Infrastructure of the training and research facilities

    In 2019-2020, the residential buildings of the educational and recreational facility Horizon, located in the village of Olginka on the Black Sea coast (30 km from Tuapse), underwent a technical inspection. It revealed extensive damage to the supporting structures, and the building’s condition was assessed as unsatisfactory. For this reason, in 2020, it was decided to decommission the residential buildings and discontinue the accommodation of holidaymakers at the facility. To provide accommodation and training facilities, the University commissioned a new modular building for 118 people (A Fresh Start: The long road to the Horizon).

    Dmitrii Mikhailov, Deputy Senior Vice-Rector — Chief Engineer, reported that such a building was built and commissioned in 2021, and preparations for its occupancy shall be completed this year. The rooms are designed for 2-3 people, each room has a shower room, a bathroom and a balcony. The University plans to provide summer accommodation, training and recreational facilities for students and University staff in 2022. Rooms that have not been booked by the university staff can be offered on a commercial basis to other guests.

    Software solution 1C Horizon has been developed to ensure transparency in-room management. The programme provides information on the rooms available in the new modular building, generates reports, provides mechanisms for concluding contracts and handling settlements with customers. The unified payment service of St Petersburg University (pay.spbu.ru) provides an electronic booking service that allows a client to select an available room of a particular type and, having paid for it in advance, make a reservation for a specified period. This will significantly simplify the paperwork and make it possible to avoid using cash when paying for a stay.

    Besides, the software platform 1C "Enterprise" has integrated an information block, which allows keeping records of the housing resources of all the training and research facilities. The block has been tested and is currently being updated with information on the residential buildings. The unique location of the training and research facilities of St Petersburg University makes them attractive to tourists, researchers and students from other universities. It will allow using the residential buildings to accommodate customers on a commercial basis during the periods when the facilities are not used to conduct practical training or internship programmes of St Petersburg University. The funds received will be used to maintain the facilities and modernise their infrastructure. The first contracts have already been signed to accommodate guests at the Impilahti, Belomorskaia, Krymskaia and Dubrava centres. It will allow the University to earn about 350,000 roubles to modernise the infrastructure of the facilities.

    Merchandise with the logo of St Petersburg University and the resources that use the University name

    Third-year students, as part of the Legal Clinic initiative, conducted research to identify the improper use of the symbols of St Petersburg University. In preparing the report, they have reviewed Internet sites that are illegitimately using the University’s logo and registered trademarks.

    The analysis revealed that most of the resources illegally using the symbols of St Petersburg University are websites that provide services for applying images to various clothing (T-shirts, sweatshirts, jumpers, etc.) and services for applying images to accessories (charms for key rings, gadget covers, mugs and pens to name just a few).

    As previously reported, since autumn 2020, the official souvenirs of the University are sold in the official online shop and the University’s Publishing House (St Petersburg University launches a souvenir shop; Online shop; Online shop of St Petersburg University). The range is regularly expanded. For example, branded T-shirts and sweatshirts have been available since the summer of 2021.

    Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University, has therefore instructed Yury Penov, Deputy Rector for Legal Affairs, to prepare a comprehensive plan to handle claims and lawsuits against all the trading platforms that have been discovered.

    Owners of sites that illegally sell products bearing the logo of St Petersburg University will be offered licencing agreements that stipulate a commission fee, and the possibility of product placement on the official online shop of St Petersburg University.

    The Rector thanked Sergei Belov, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and the law students for their work. The participants of the meeting invited law students and students of journalism to conduct an analysis of the use of the name of St Petersburg University in publishing, information resources, including Internet communities. Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities, informed that such work had already been completed by law students. The participants noted that this kind of analysis should be conducted on a regular basis.

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