Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting

No. 523
04.05.2022

    The position of St Petersburg University in the Global 2000 List by the Centre for World University Rankings

    On 25 April 2022, the 2022-2023 edition of the Global 2000 List by the Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) was announced. It has been published since 2012 by the Centre for World University Rankings based in the United Arab Emirates (www.cwur.org). The list includes 2,000 organisations selected from 19,788 candidates. The activities of these organisations are evaluated across the following indicators:

    Research

    Output

    10%

    The "Article" publications in the last ten full years on the Web of Science (SCIE, SSCI, and AHCI)

    High Quality

    Publications

    10%

    The number of publications in the last 10 full years in 23 broad fields: Agricultural Sciences; Arts & Humanities; Biology & Biochemistry; Chemistry; Clinical Medicine; Computer Science; Ecology/Environment; Economics & Business; Engineering; Geosciences; Immunology; Materials Science; Mathematics; Microbiology; Molecular Biology & Genetics; Multidisciplinary Sciences; Neuroscience & Behaviour; Pharmacology & Toxicology; Physics; Plant & Animal Science; Psychiatry/Psychology; General Social Sciences; Space Sciences in the top 25% cited journals in each field by JCR (except Arts & Humanities, where 25 % of all publications are taken into account) self-citations are excluded according to the Clarivate Analytics

    Influence

    10%

    The number of publications for the last 10 full years in 23 broad fields in the top 5% most cited journals in each JCR field (except Arts & Humanities, where 5% of all publications are taken into account) without self-citations according to the Clarivate Analytics

    Citations

    10%

    The number of the most cited publications in 23 broad fields out of the top 1% most cited publications in ten full years; if Y is the current year, then for each of the 23 broad fields, the most cited ‘Article’ publications are counted between the years Y — 2 and Y — 11

    Quality of

    Faculty

    10%

    This indicator measures the weighted number of faculty members of an institution who have won the following awards, medals, and prizes covering the 23 broad disciplines listed earlier: Wolf Prize in Agriculture, Praemium Imperiale, Kluge Prize, Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Turing Award, Crafoord Prize in Biosciences, Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Herbert Simon Award, Charles Stark Draper Prize, Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, Crafoord Prize in Geosciences, Vetlesen Prize, Novartis Prizes for Immunology, German Immunology Award, Kyoto Prize in Materials Science and Engineering, Von Hippel Award, Abel Prize, Fields Medal, Microbiology Society Prize Medal, Mendel Medal of the Leopoldina, Gruber Prize in Genetics, Albert Einstein World Award of Science, Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, NAS Award in the Neurosciences, Robert R. Ruffolo Career Achievement Award, Leading Edge in Basic Science Award, Nobel Prize in Physics, Linnean Medal, Jean Delay Prize, Grawemeyer Award in Psychology, Holberg International Memorial Prize, Crafoord Prize in Astronomy, and Kavli Prize in Astrophysics; the indicator is calculated taking into account the year of receiving the awards/prizes (exponential weight function)

    Alumni

    Employment

    25%

    This indicator measures the weighted average number (per year) of a university’s alumni who have held CEO positions since 2011 at the world’s top 2000 public companies relative to the university’s size. The top companies are those listed on the Forbes Global 2000 list (exponential weight function)

    Quality of Education

    25%

    This indicator measures the weighted number of a university’s alumni who have won major awards, medals, and prizes (see above) relative to the university’s size

    Universities are ranked based on their pre-final scores and assigned final scores based on a scaled 0-100 Gaussian bell curve. The information about the organisations to rank is obtained from open sources.

    The methodology for calculating the ranking, the number of the organisations considered, and the number of the organisations in the published ranking have changed several times. From 2014 to 2018, the ranking included 1,000 organisations. Since 2019, the ranking has included 2,000 organisations. In 2018, the indicators changed significantly. Since 2019, the organisation’s position on the single Research Rank, not separately for each indicator characterising the research activities of the organisation, has been introduced. Since 2020, not only universities, but also research organisations have been included in the ranking.

    Dynamics of St Petersburg University’s rank in the CWUR ranking

    2018

    2019

    2020

    2021

    2022

    541

    560

    540

    538

    550

    The meeting also provided information on the positions of the Russian organisations in the 2022-2023 edition of the Global 2000 List by the Centre for World University Rankings (Annex 1) and the dynamics of the characteristics of the ranking by year and the ranks of the Russian organisations (out of the top 1,000) (Annex 2).

    St Petersburg University takes part in the Moscow International Education Salon

    St Petersburg University took part in the 9th Moscow International Education Salon (MMSO), which took place on 29-30 April 2022 (St Petersburg University takes part in the 2022 Moscow International Education Salon). This is a large-scale event in the field of education in Russia. It is an open forum and a large-scale exhibition of technologies, infrastructure, and intelligent solutions. Among the key topics discussed at the 2022 MMSO were how to overcome uncertainty and how to preserve sustainable development and the integrity of the professional community, taking into account the current challenges. More than 1,000 experts from the field of education took part in the MMSO business programme.

    St Petersburg University has prepared a large-scale programme for the Moscow International Education Salon. Among the events offered by the University both in-person and online are lectures and workshops by the University academic staff and presentations of new academic programmes, the University’s clinics, online courses, and student start-ups, to name but a few.

    How we can use technology to improve the quality of education is among the key topics discussed at the Moscow International Education Salon. St Petersburg University shared its experience in creating online courses in a wide range of areas: from palaeontology to artificial intelligence.

    Representatives of the University said that St Petersburg University has developed more than 300 online courses for students, schoolchildren, and teachers. In 2022, St Petersburg University launched its own online educational platform, "St Petersburg University Open Educational Space". Students can take numerous online courses offered by the University and pursue academic programmes implemented remotely. The University’s events were broadcast on the MMSO website and the St Petersburg University website.

    The format of organising the teaching and learning process

    Today, the format of classes and interim assessment is determined in accordance with Order № 1893/1 ‘On the operation of Order No 7991/1 "On the format of classes in the 2021/22 academic year" dated 13 August 2021 in the period from 7 March 2022’dated 4 March 2022. This Order is based on the proposals submitted by the heads of academic and research subdivisions. Depending on each subdivision’s teaching and learning process, an in-person format or a mixed format of the teaching and learning process is determined.

    Natalya Boyko, Head of the Academic Affairs Department, reminded the meeting participants that in accordance with the task set for the heads of universities by the Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation in relation to how to increase the number of contact hours with students (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 28 March 2022), the Rector of St Petersburg University was instructed to organise the teaching and learning process mainly in the in-person format.

    The Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities held a meeting on this issue with the heads of academic and research subdivisions. Proposals were received from the directors of institutes and deans of faculties on what measures to take to increase the percentage of in-person classes. Subsequently, there were changes in the timetable, and the percentage of in-person classes on average at the University increased from 49.02% to 72.87%. There was a significant increase in the in-person classes at the Institute of History (by 50.39%); at the Institute of Philosophy (by 48.95%); at the Faculty of Economics (by 41.27%); at the School of International Relations (by 40.35%); and at the Graduate School of Management (by 40.04%). This work is still underway.

    The percentage of the in-person classes in the academic and research subdivisions is presented in the table below:

    Academic and research subdivisions

    Percentage of in-person classes in

    23 March 2022

    28 April 2022

    1.

    Academic Gymnasium

    99.72

    99.87

    2.

    Faculty of Biology

    32.96

    51.21

    3.

    Faculty of Asian and African Studies

    96.95

    97.3

    4.

    School of Journalism and Mass Communication

    23.16

    57.99

    5.

    Graduate School of Management

    10.63

    50.68

    6.

    Institute of History

    31.71

    82.1

    7.

    Institute for Cognitive Studies

    63.48

    91.8

    8.

    Institute of Earth Sciences

    42.84

    65

    9.

    Institute of Pedagogy

    22.38

    57.92

    10.

    Institute for Competition Development and Antimonopoly Regulation

    71.3

    94.44

    11.

    Institute of Philosophy

    31.89

    80.84

    12.

    Institute of Chemistry

    63.33

    83.61

    13.

    College of Physical Training and Sports, Economics and Technology

    60.75

    95.12

    14.

    Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty

    32.76

    64.64

    15.

    Medical College

    79.5

    93.27

    16.

    Faculty of Medicine

    46.31

    56.1

    17.

    Physical Training (bachelor’s degree)

    60.95

    92.11

    18.

    Faculty of Foreign Languages

    11.67

    26.64

    19.

    Faculty of Arts

    60.15

    71.87

    20.

    Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

    35.53

    55.5

    21.

    School of International Relations

    11.32

    51.67

    22.

    Faculty of Political Science

    93.02

    95.22

    23.

    Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes

    50.64

    72.67

    24.

    Faculty of Psychology

    28.21

    59.92

    25.

    Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences

    41.97

    78.14

    26.

    Faculty of Sociology

    71.45

    86.86

    27.

    Faculty of Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies

    54.81

    62

    28.

    Faculty of Physics

    92.75

    94.12

    29.

    Faculty of Philology

    27.97

    55.94

    30.

    Faculty of Economics

    10.03

    51.3

    31.

    Faculty of Law

    59.56

    83.13

    Natalya Boyko told about the main reasons why, in some cases, the remote format of classes was currently maintained. Among the reasons are the following:

    • the high rate of international students in the groups (including exchange students within the framework of the academic mobility programmes) who, for objective reasons, are outside the Russian Federation and can have classes using information and communication technologies
    • the presence of practising specialists working under the independent contractor agreements, which provide for the format of remote teaching using information and communication technologies
    • the problems caused by the repair work of the rooms in some buildings; in this regard, a radical change in the teaching and learning process is required to organise in-person classes for all groups according to the timetable for some academic programmes

    Natalya Boyko noted that the curricula of some academic programmes include disciplines that can only be delivered online (in particular, online courses, and classes via the Blackboard system to name just a few).

    Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process

    Over the past week, the Virtual Reception received eight enquiries addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities. Additionally, 21 enquiries were registered in the student enquiry register.

    According to information from the heads of most academic and research subdivisions, classes and tests are held according to the timetable in the prescribed manner.

    Meetings with students (representatives of student councils, student scientific societies and group heads) were not held by some heads of the academic and research subdivisions over the past week, while many subdivisions held such meetings.

    During the meeting with the Director of the Institute of History, the chairperson of the Student Council asked about the reasons for transferring English classes to the in-person format. These classes had previously been held remotely. The Director noted that since 28 March 2022, a phase transition to the in-person format of the teaching and learning process was underway due to the abolition of the previous restrictions.

    At the meeting with the Senior Deputy Director of the Graduate School of Management, the chairperson of the Student Council was interested in the format of the state final assessment. As noted earlier, up-to-date information about the format of the teaching and learning process, interim assessment, and final assessment for each academic programme is presented in the Electronic Timetable. For international students who are outside the Russian Federation, a solution is being worked out. The possibility of video recording of in-person classes was discussed. This requires installing necessary equipment in the classrooms.

    During the meeting of students with the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the chairperson of the Student Council was interested in the possibility of conducting state exams and defending the graduation projects using information and communication technologies. The students were informed that the state final assessment would be conducted in a mixed format using MS Teams. The students expressed their desire to connect students who could not attend classes to the broadcast of in-person classes. In response to such enquiries, clarifications were already given earlier at the Rector’s meetings. Students who wished to continue their studies remotely but did not provide a good reason for absence from classes, were denied the opportunity to study remotely. The possibility of obtaining an academic leave or an individual learning schedule is provided if there are objective reasons and a temporary impossibility to study in the in-person format. At the meeting of students with the head of the Faculty of Medicine, the question was raised about the possibility of having a summer internship for non-resident students in an organisation located at the place of permanent registration of non-resident students. This issue was discussed on 18 April 2022 at the meeting of the Teaching Methodology Committee in the relevant consolidated groups of specialities and fields of study, as the requirements of the internship programme are within the scope of the responsibilities of the Teaching Methodology Committee. The proposal has been approved. In accordance with Paragraphs 2.5 and 2.6 of the Regulations on the practice of students in the degree programmes of higher and secondary vocational education at St Petersburg University, practice in a specialised organisation is carried out on the basis of an agreement on internship signed between St Petersburg University and the organisation and / or on the basis of an employment agreement. The place of internship in the organisation must be agreed upon with the head of the internship. Thus, based on the application submitted by the student and the agreement with the medical organisation and after determining the compliance of the profile of the medical organisation with the goals and objectives of the internship in accordance with the approved programme of the internship, the issue of sending students to the internship will be decided on a case-by-case basis. The Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities received a memo from the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Medicine with a proposal to organise the internship in the above-mentioned way for non-resident students. The proposal complies with the stipulated rules and will be implemented. For additional information, students in Medicine can contact Arkadii Semenov, Head of the Internships at the Faculty of Medicine.

    The current issues with organising the teaching and learning process and other issues were discussed at the meetings with representatives of student councils, student scientific societies and heads of groups at the Faculty of Arts; the Faculty of Physics; the Institute of History; the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes; the Faculty of Sociology; the Faculty of Philology; and the College of Physical Training and Sports, Economics and Technology (the minutes of the meeting are not formalised and not submitted for publication).

    Students met with the heads of the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Medical Technology; the Institute of Philosophy; the Institute of Earth Sciences; the Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty (the minutes of the meetings were not formalised and not submitted for publication), the School of International Relations, and the Faculty of Economics.

    Information about meetings with student representatives was not received from the Director of the Medical College.

    Storage of students’ works

    In accordance with Part 1 of Article 17 of Federal Law № 125-FZ "On Archiving in the Russian Federation" dated 22 October 2004, the organisations are required to ensure the safety of archival documents during the retention period stipulated by the federal laws, other regulatory legal acts of the Russian Federation, and other documents provided for by Part 3 of Article 6 and Parts 1 and 1.1 of Article 23 of the above-mentioned law. The retention period does not depend on the type of media.

    Natalya Boyko, Head of the Academic Affairs Department, said that the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation was currently developing a list of the documents issued in the course of the activities of universities and subordinate organisations to determine the retention period for students’ works. The Federal Archives recommends using the Model Nomenclature of Cases of a Higher Educational Institution dated 11 May 1999, in those cases when it does not contradict the current legislation of the Russian Federation in the field of archiving.

    Thus, Paragraph 14 of the Model Nomenclature for term papers of students stipulates a two-year retention period. The documents stored in institutions, organisations, and enterprises and then are submitted to the state archives, and student term papers that have been awarded first prizes at all-Russian competitions are stored permanently. The retention period for the works performed at the creative faculties of art universities is 15 years.

    In accordance with the desk procedures, documents (cases) of temporary (up to ten years) retention are not subject to transfer for archiving to the Joint Archive of the University. They are kept in the relevant departments and, after the expiration of the retention period, are subject to destruction in the prescribed manner.

    According to the Academic Regulations for the bachelor’s, specialist’s, master’s programmes or programmes of a non-university level higher education at St Petersburg University, approved by Order № 470/1 dated 29 January 2016, term papers shall be submitted by students to the Academic Affairs Department in the relevant fields of study, registered by an employee authorised by the deputy head of the Academic Affairs Department in the relevant fields of study, after which they are checked by the supervisor (Clause 6.6 of the Academic Regulations).

    In accordance with these rules, students’ term papers must be kept in Academic Affairs Departments for the stipulated retention period, i.e. two years, if they have not been awarded first prizes in all-Russian competitions.

    The University has experience in collecting and storing term papers in electronic form (in the Blackboard information system): for example, students in History, Philosophy, and Psychology.

    The amendments to the University’s by-laws are currently being developed. This will ensure a unified electronic form for submitting term papers, as for graduation projects, which since 2016 can be submitted in the electronic form.

    Based on the results of the discussion at the meeting to discuss this issue, the Rector instructed to check storage of students’ term papers and graduation projects, including those that had been awarded the first prizes at all-Russian competitions and works performed in creative fields of study.

    More than 30 non-degree programmes are launched at St Petersburg University in May

    On the St Petersburg University website, St Petersburg University published a digest of non-degree programmes (general education and advanced training programmes) launched by the University in May.

    The list includes more than 30 non-degree programmes in various fields: from Linguistics and Graphic Design to Economics, Law, Medicine and Healthcare. General educational programmes will help students learn a foreign language; prepare for international language testing; or the stages of admissions tests at a university. Students are taught with the use of modern teaching materials and effective teaching techniques. Also, learners do tests, analyse the most complicated issues, develop professional skills and gain key competencies. If students pass the final assessment tests, they are issued a certificate in the standard form established by St Petersburg University: a diploma or a certificate in advanced training, depending on the chosen level of the programme.

    Results of the meeting of the Standing Teaching Methodology Committee of the Academic Council at St Petersburg University

    On 28 April 2022, a meeting of the Standing Teaching Methodology Committee of the Academic Council at St Petersburg University was held to discuss the model of the curriculum for the bachelor’s programme in the field of study 50.03.01 "Arts and Humanities" implemented at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Annex).

    Nikolay Kuznetsov, Chairperson of the Standing Teaching Methodology Committee of the Academic Council at the University, presented the main provisions of the information drawn up by members of the Standing Teaching Methodology Committee of the Academic Council on the implementation of the programmes in the field of study 50.03.01 "Arts and Humanities" at St Petersburg University and in other educational organisations in the Russian Federation.

    The discussion was attended by Associate Professor Mikhail Allakhverdov; student Andrei Koshkin; Chairperson of the Standing Teaching Methodology Committee of the Academic Council at St Petersburg University Nikolay Kuznetsov; Acting Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences Nina Savchenkova; Professor Aleksandr Strebkov; Professor Natalia Sheveleva; and Professor Alexandra Kharazova.

    The Standing Teaching Methodology Committeeof the Academic Council at St Petersburg University proposed creating a working group to transform the bachelor’s programme "Liberal Arts and Sciences" in the field of study 50.03.01 "Arts and Humanities". The working group will include the following members: Michail Allahverdov, Associate Professor in the Department of Convergence of Natural Sciences and Humanities at St Petersburg University; Dmitrii Baryshnikov, Candidate of Political Science, Head of the Department of World Politics; Liudmila Gromova, Doctor of Philology, Head of the Department of History of Journalism, Honorary Professor of St Petersburg University; Ekaterina Ivanova, Doctor of Philology, Head of the Department of Romance Philology; Svetlana Kostromina, Doctor of Psychology, Head of the Department of Ontopsychology; Andrei Koshkin, student; Nikita Kuznetsov, Doctor of Philosophy, Director of the Institute of Philosophy at St Petersburg University; Aleksandr Strebkov, Doctor of Political Science, Head of the Department of Conflictology; and Natalia Sheveleva, Doctor of Law, Head of the Department of Administrative and Financial Law.

    The draft curriculum for the 2022 entry should be considered at the next meeting of the Standing Teaching Methodology Committee scheduled for 16 May 2022.

    Measures to support participants in the special military operation and their children

    The All-Russian political party "United Russia" submitted to the State Duma of the Russian Federation a draft law establishing the admissions process to pursue bachelor’s and specialist’s programmes in the higher education institutions for children of combat veterans, including children of veterans who died while performing combat missions outside of Russia, received a disability, or were awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation.

    As Aleksandr Babich, Senior Vice-Rector for Youth Policy and Admissions, said, according to Part 5 of Article 71 of Federal Law № 273 FZ "On Education in the Russian Federation" dated 29 December 2012, the combat veterans, including the persons engaged in the special military operation in the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Lugansk People’s Republic, and Ukraine, have the right to be admitted to universities to pursue bachelor’s and specialist’s programmes on the government-funded places within the established quota. Children of combat veterans are not granted this right or the right to admission without entrance examinations.

    St Petersburg University supports the initiative of the All-Russian political party "United Russia" to provide children of combat veterans with special rights when applying for bachelor’s and specialist’s programmes.

    Aleksandr Babich noted that on 10 March 2022, St Petersburg s University (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 9 March 2022) sent a letter to the Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation with a proposal to initiate amendments to the law "On Education in the Russian Federation" for granting special rights and benefits to participants in the special military operation and their children in relation to admission to bachelor’s and specialist’s programmes. If the participants in the special military operation have a higher education, they should have the right to receive a second or subsequent higher education of the level they already have free of charge.

    The Chairperson of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture and the Chairperson of the State Duma Committee on Science and Higher Education were informed about this initiative. The initiative was widely covered in the media: St Petersburg University proposes to enrol participants in the operation to protect Donbass without exams; Participants of the special military operation in Ukraine are offered to be admitted to universities without exams; St Petersburg University proposes to enrol participants in the special operation in Ukraine without exams; St Petersburg University proposes to enrol participants in the military operation in Ukraine without exams.

    Aleksandr Babich added that a round table was planned for the Council of Rectors of the universities of the Northwestern Federal District to discuss and develop a set of measures to support the children of the participants in the special military operation.

    The procedure and period for taking into account the opinion of the St Petersburg University Student Council in relation to issuing local regulations affecting the rights and legitimate interests of the St Petersburg University students

    At the Rector’s meeting on 4 April 2022, it was said that at the meeting of the Rector with members of the Presidium of the St Petersburg University Student Council on 21 March 2022 (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 4 April 2022), the issue of the period to consider the University’s draft orders by the St Petersburg University Student Council was discussed. During this meeting, the University Student Council was asked to consider a 14-day (or shorter) period for considering the drafts.

    As Aleksandr Babich, Senior Vice-Rector for Youth Policy and Admissions, said, during the Rector’s meeting on 18 April 2022, it was reported that as the St Petersburg University Student Council had not developed any proposals on this issue, a draft order ‘On the procedure and period for taking into account opinions of the St Petersburg University Student Council in relation to issuing local regulations affecting the rights and legitimate interests of the St Petersburg University students’ was prepared. It stipulates a 14-day period for consideration of draft orders. On 15 April 2022, this draft was sent to the St Petersburg University Student Council to take into account its opinion.

    Stipulating the period for the consideration of draft orders by the St Petersburg University Student Council is necessary and appropriate as an analysis of the data on the period of consideration by the St Petersburg University Student Council of draft orders from 2019 to 2022 shows the following:

    • in 2019, the St Petersburg University Student Council considered 21% of the total number of submitted draft orders during more than three months; 9% during more than two months; and 16% during more than one month
    • in 2020, the St Petersburg University Student Council considered 9% of the total number of submitted draft orders during more than three months; 7% during more than two months; and 45% during more than one month
    • in 2021, the St Petersburg University Student Council considered 6% of the total number of submitted draft orders during more than three months; about 9% during more than two months; and 30% during more than one month
    • in 2022, the St Petersburg University Student Council considered 2% of the total number of submitted draft orders during more than two months; and 24% during more than one month

    Thus, in total, for more than a month, the St Petersburg University Student Council considered the following number of draft orders by year: 2019 — 46%, 2020 — 61%, 2021 — 46% and for four months in 2022 — 26%. To provide a general understanding of the situation with the period of consideration of draft orders by the St Petersburg University Student Council, we can say that at the beginning of April, a memorandum was sent to the St Petersburg University Student Council. The memorandum asked the Student Council to provide its opinion on the draft of six orders that had been sent for consideration by the St Petersburg University Student Council five months ago.

    Social media postings by students regarding the contest for the position of Associate Professor at the Institute of History

    The participants of the Rector’s meeting dated 18 April reviewed the results of the inspection on the inquiry by student Polina Tareeva on the admission of three teachers (Elena Lelina, Olga Sokurova, Sergei Zhestokanov) to the contest for the position of Associate Professor at the Institute of History. It was reported that the inspection did not find any violations in admitting the abovementioned persons to the contest (On the check of documents for the contest for filling positions; On the check of complaint about the admission of lecturers for the contest for the position of Associate Professor of the Institute of History; On contest for the position of Associate Professor of the Institute of History). 

    Aleksandr Babich, Senior Vice-Rector for Youth Policy and Admissions, said that the complaint by student Polina Tareeva triggered a broad public discussion of the issue within the staff of the Institute of History.

    In addition to a significant number of letters of condemnation, the Ethics Commission of the University received an appeal from Professor Vladimir Vasilik, requesting that the actions of Polina Tareeva be "checked for their compliance with the moral standing of a university student".

    Professor Vassilik indicated in his appeal that ’the actions of Polina Tareeva led to serious moral suffering for the teachers, whose age posed a real risk of cardiovascular disease with a possible lethal outcome (for example, Olga Sokurova, born in 1948, was particularly badly affected by this information)’.

    Aleksandr Babich drew attention to the fact that student Polina Tareeva was also positioning herself as the "editor-in-chief" of a publicity board on the social network VKontakte, which posted information about the University that often did not correspond to actual facts. Moreover, this publicity board is positioned as a resource of the Institute of History and uses the name of the University and the Institute without proper permission.

    In this connection, in order to stop the unlawful activity, the Head of the Main Department for Intellectual Property Use and Protection made a request to student Polina Tareeva ’to discontinue the use of any means of individualisation of St Petersburg University, including its name and the names of its structural subdivisions’.

    The request also states that ’should the above-mentioned illegal activities continue, including the dissemination of information on behalf of St Petersburg University without their official permission, the University shall file a complaint with law enforcement authorities and demand that offenders be held liable in accordance with current legislation, including for the dissemination of false information in violation of the Law "On information, information technology and information protection’ and the Code of Administrative Offences".

    Participation of St Petersburg University in the grant competition to support student scientific societies in 2022

    As reported at the Rector’s meeting held on 31 January 2022, the University took part in the contest for grants in the form of subsidies from the federal budget to higher education institutions for the implementation of activities aimed at supporting student scientific societies. The contest was announced by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation for the first time in 2022. Higher education institutions with established student scientific societies could submit an application to take part in the contest from 25 January to 25 February. Aleksandr Babich, Senior Vice-Rector for Youth Policy and Admissions, informed that the application was discussed with representatives of the Student Council of St Petersburg University, followed by two meetings with representatives of the student scientific societies of the institutes and faculties (2 February 2022, 7 February 2022).

    The discussion led to the conclusion that a common interdisciplinary project that envisages events allowing all interested student scientific societies to initiate and run their sections tailored to the specific scientific field (to discuss diverse scientific topics and choose the most appropriate format for discussion) would not only promote the development of student scientific societies on the basis of individual institutes and faculties, but would also contribute to the enhancement of student research and to the development of the University community at large. It was also noted that a common project would promote activities of all student scientific societies, rather than a single one, and would promote the initiatives of all University subdivisions, which in the end would lead to a greater popularisation of science among the students. Moreover, (according to the conditions of the contest) the grant recipient should meet certain requirements regarding the indicators necessary to achieve the result of the grant, namely, to ensure the involvement of at least 10% of the total number of students in the educational organisation (rather than any particular subdivision of the University) in the bachelor, specialist and/or master programmes (over 20,000 students).

    In the end, representatives of student scientific societies agreed upon a common, interdisciplinary research project.

    The issue of a single interdisciplinary application was also discussed at a meeting of the Standing Committee for Research of the Academic Council of St Petersburg University, and the submitted concept was supported by the members of the Committee.

    Aleksandr Babich observed that the combined and prolific efforts of the different student scientific societies on the joint application eventually contributed to the establishment of the student scientific society of the University, which the students had failed to accomplish over the years. Even the approved Regulations on student scientific societies of St Petersburg University in 2019 did not lead to the formation of a student scientific society at the University.

    Joint efforts of students had resulted in a project of student science congress "St Petersburg Bridges: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding current challenges", which combined the best practices of individual student scientific societies of the University, traditional student scientific societies and new ideas and approaches for interdisciplinary cooperation.

    There are plans to hold a series of regional, national and international scientific and educational events, and some traditional student scientific events as satellite activities of the congress, including:

    • School for Critical Thinking with a case study championship
    • UNESCO Model
    • Round table "Current challenges for Russian economy" 
    • Model session of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
    • School of Young Analyst
    • Congress of Student Science "St Petersburg Bridges: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding current challenges"
    • All-Russian student scientific conference of sociologists
    • WTO Model
    • 13th International Youth Conference of Political Scientists
    • International Tournament in Natural Sciences
    • International Student Conference of Asian and African Studies Ex Oriente Lux

    A rich and varied programme of the congress made it possible to submit an application in the category of projects with a budget of up to 5 million roubles.

    Out of 292 applications submitted for the contest, 244 applications from Russian universities were accepted for peer review, including the application from St Petersburg University. The jury examined the applications in terms of the organisational and research experience of the student teams, achievements in other similar competitions, the development of student scientific societies, and the level of ideas submitted.

    The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation allocated 100 million roubles in grants to support 40 applications. In the category of projects with a budget of up to 5 million roubles, the jury examined 42 applications, and selected ten as winners. Aleksandr Babich said that, unfortunately, the University project had not qualified for a grant in the first year of the contest: the application was not included in the top 10 in this category of projects, ranking 32nd place with a score of 63.5 points.

    The project of student scientific societies of the University was 20 points short in the criterion "Experience of participation, prizes and awards in regional, federal and sectoral contests of student scientific societies" (for the period of two years preceding the year of the contest). The criterion included the results of the participation of student scientific societies in regional, federal and sectoral contests, and the number of awards (diplomas, prizes, awards) for winning such contests. This experience is yet to be gained by the University’s student scientific societies.

    The University also lost two points on the criterion ’Publicity and transparency of the activities of St Petersburg University (availability of an official website of the student scientific society or a page on the website of the educational organisation, social networks)’. The experts could not give a high score for the publicity and transparency of activities of student scientific societies because the Internet resources of the student scientific societies of St Petersburg University were only established in the course of preparing the application and have gained in popularity only over the last few months.

    Furthermore, the final score for the application was lowered by three points for the criterion "Increase in the number and diversity of activities and the number of participants" as, in the opinion of the experts, the applicants failed to explicitly identify the activities in the project description that aim to increase the number and diversity of events held by student scientific societies of St Petersburg University and the number of participants in these events.

    The experts agreed that although the application of the student scientific societies of St Petersburg University deserves a high mark for the scope of the University’s scientific research activities, it is recommended to focus on the development of interdisciplinary projects.

    Had the above-mentioned flaws been eliminated, the application could have received 88.5 points and would have been ranked ninth among the winners of the contest. Thus, the expert opinion confirms the relevance of the chosen approach of developing interdisciplinary projects and bringing together the efforts of all student scientific societies of the University.

    Aleksandr Babich noted that the University succeeded in establishing a single coordinating body for the University student scientific societies, which will subsequently enable them to participate in various contests and implement joint student research projects.

    As reported at the Rector’s meeting on 18 April 2022, the University will continue to support student research associations. The University also plans to participate in other regional and all-Russian competitions and, of course, in the next contest organised by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation for grants to support student scientific societies.

    The directors and deans have been instructed to inform the members of the student scientific societies of the institutes and faculties about the preparation of the application, the outcome of the competition and the formation of the student scientific society of St Petersburg University.

    Work with students

    Vladimir Savinov, Vice-Rector for Educational Activity, said that on 19 April, he received information on an incident involving a first-year student in History. The conflict could have been caused by insults against a female student on ethnic grounds from some of her fellow students.

    Vladimir Savinov contacted the student on the same day and arranged a meeting to clarify the circumstances. The meeting was held on 20 April. It was attended by Abdulla Daudov, Director of the Institute of History, Vyacheslav Suyazov, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Law (should legal advice be required) and Elena Zinovieva, Director of the Psychological Clinic of St Petersburg University (to provide psychological assistance).

    The student explained that the conflict started in autumn 2021 in the online chat of the course while the students were studying remotely. Several students from different courses in the chat would occasionally allow what she considered to be ironic and sometimes rather rude remarks related to the student’s nationality. The student was born in Uzbekistan, but moved to St Petersburg several years ago and graduated from a local school. The student responded to the offensive remarks, which led to disputes, albeit short-lived, followed by new insults. Other students in the chat have not openly commented on the situation and, up to a certain point, have not condemned the comments of their fellow students; some, in private conversation, have supported the student and advised her to ignore the bullies.

    In March 2022, after another series of insults, some fellow students and senior students stepped in for her, after which any negative remarks in the chat ceased. At present, after personal conversations with her abusers, the student considers the conflict resolved. The students returned to the classroom format and are communicating normally.

    The student said she was unaware that in the situation and due to the format of study using information and communication technologies, she could seek help and advice from the University staff: a curator of first-year students, the Director of the Institute, the staff of the Department for Youth Affairs. She also sought counselling from a psychologist on a couple of occasions, but was unaware that it could have been provided for free at the Psychological Clinic of St Petersburg University.

    Vladimir Savinov advised that in such situations, students should always contact the staff of the Department of Youth Work and the curators of first-year students, who could provide information on psychological, legal and other assistance available at the University, and help resolve conflict situations. Еlena Zinovieva spoke about the work of the Psychological Clinic. Vyacheslav Suyazov invited the student to take part in meetings on the history of law.

    Vladimir Savinov informed that the University plans to take a number of measures to prevent such situations in the future. At the start of the next academic year, first-year students will be informed about the work of the Psychological Clinic of St Petersburg University and its resources. The University will also prepare a psychological aid leaflet for first-year students. Information about curators for first-year students will be sent out by email and other available channels at the beginning of September. Traditional meetings of first-year students with their curators will be arranged in a face-to-face and online format. Sergei Belov, Dean of the Faculty of Law, has proposed a lecture to students on the legal protection against harassment and humiliation on the grounds of nationality, race, gender, property, social status and religion. The University also conducts a series of events aimed at promoting respectful and non-discriminatory attitudes.

    Vladimir Savinov emphasised that students should remember that the University environment is multinational, and any discriminatory attitudes towards fellow students are unacceptable. Students must abide by the University Student and Staff Code of Conduct, which obliges them to follow the moral and cultural traditions of the University, universal moral and ethical principles and to respect the intellectual values of the University.

    Sporting events at St Petersburg University

    The participants of the Rector’s meeting were briefed on some of the University’s sporting activities that took place in April.

    The 11th ’Challenge Cup’ in rugby between St Petersburg University and Lomonosov Moscow State University was held in the small arena of the Petrovsky stadium. The University team defeated their rivals by a score of 45:0 in the Rugby-7 competition, but in the Rugby-15 competition, which was the central and decisive event of the meeting, St Petersburg University lost to Lomonosov Moscow State University by a score of 16:24.

    The next Challenge Cup will be held in the spring of 2023 in Moscow, with the overall score between the universities being 8-3, favouring St Petersburg University.

    Another sporting event is the annual chess tournament "Spassky Cup", dedicated to Boris Spassky, world chess champion and graduate of the Faculty of Philology at Leningrad State University. The Spassky Cup has been held at St Petersburg University since 2012 and is organised according to the Swiss system with seven rounds, each participant being given ten minutes to complete a game.

    This year, the number of participants wishing to take part in the chess competition exceeded last year’s figure: the organisers received 52 applications. Master candidates and coaches from various city institutions, including schools and children’s art centres, joined to compete for the trophy.

    This year’s winner of the Cup is Azat Gabdrakhmanov, a first-year student in Mathematics at St Petersburg University. The second place went to Iskander Nasibullin, a future specialist in tourism. Third place went to Lev Rezvyi, a first-year student in Geography.

    The Spassky Cup is part of the chess championship programme at St Petersburg University (detailed information is available here). The results of the competition are counted against the Chess Championship of St Petersburg University. The winner will be announced on 9 June at the closing ceremony of the student sports season 2021/22.

    Decade of Science and Technology in the Russian Federation

    On 25 April, the President of the Russian Federation signed Order № 231 "On Declaring the Decade of Science and Technology in the Russian Federation (2022-2031)". The main objectives of the Decade of Science and Technology include: attracting talented young people to research and development; increasing the involvement of researchers and developers in addressing critical challenges in the development of society and the country; increasing awareness of the achievements and prospects of Russian science among the citizens of the Russian Federation.

    The Order establishes the Regulation on the Coordinating Committee for the Decade of Science and Technology in the Russian Federation (hereinafter, the Coordinating Committee). Andrei Fursenko, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation, and Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, have been appointed co-chairs of the Coordinating Committee.

    The key functions of the Coordinating Committee include:

    • coordination of the activities of the federal executive authorities, the authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, local authorities, research funds, state corporations, scientific, educational and other organisations in the preparation and implementation of the Decade of Science and Technology
    • identification and coordination of perspective initiatives, projects and activities aimed at attracting talented young people to research and development; increasing the involvement of researchers and developers in addressing critical challenges in the development of society and the country
    • development of priority areas for the popularisation of science

    The Government of the Russian Federation has been commissioned to approve the plan for the Decade of Science and Technology reviewed by the Coordinating Committee within three months. The state authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation should develop and approve regional action plans for the Decade of Science and Technology.

    Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research, instructed the participants of the meeting to prepare proposals for activities and projects that could be initiated by St Petersburg University. Proposals should be sent by email: science@spbu.ru or via the Electronic Document Management System "Delo" by May 18.

    The 8th All-Russian Research and Practical Conference "The Bigiev Readings"

    St Petersburg University has held the 8th All-Russian Research and Practical Conference "The Bigiev Readings". This year, its focus is "Islamic Heritage of Russia: Revival and Rethinking".

    The event is dedicated to the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by the state of Volga Bulgaria. The Bigiev Readings was organised by the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of the Russian Federation, St Petersburg State University and the Moscow Islamic Institute with the support of the Russian Islamic Foundation for Supporting Culture, Science and Education, the Medina Publishing House and the Charitable Foundation SAFMAR.

    On behalf of Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin, Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of the Russian Federation, Damir Khusainov welcomed the participants of the conference.

    The Bigiev Readings were attended by representatives of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims and leading scholars from universities and scientific institutions in Russia and Turkey: St Petersburg University; Moscow Islamic Institute; the Russian State University for the Humanities; Kazan Federal University; the Higher School of Economics; the Russian State University of Justice; M. Akmullah Bashkir State Pedagogical University; the State Hermitage Museum; the Kunstkamera; the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences; the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; the Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Marjani Institute of History of the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences; the Russian Academy of Education; Ankara University; and the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University.

    The Readings also hosted a round table of young researchers: doctoral and master’s students from St Petersburg University, Lomonosov Moscow State University, the Kabardino-Balkarian Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the European University in St Petersburg.

    Detailed information about the conference is available on the website of St Petersburg University.

    St Petersburg University founds a new small innovative enterprise "Law Enforcement Monitoring Centre"

    Lawyers at St Petersburg University have been monitoring legislation and law enforcement for over a decade. The scholars analyse court decisions and the practice of government agencies to assess the operation of laws: whether courts experience difficulties in applying them; whether the laws contain language that can be misinterpreted; and whether the law achieves the goals it was meant to serve initially. St Petersburg University conducts this work on requests from the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, and the State Duma. The results of monitoring activities carried out by experts are published on the portal "Monitoring of Law Enforcement".

    Now, the experts will also conduct such research for companies and individuals. For this purpose, St Petersburg University has established a small innovative enterprise "Law Enforcement Monitoring Centre".

    The experts emphasise that the primary function of the new enterprise is to monitor law enforcement, although it is not confined to this function alone. The specialists are prepared to undertake any legal research, analysing legislation and practice and supporting their conclusions with theoretical propositions to substantiate their position, if necessary. It is important to note that the University can involve specialists from almost any field, and the expertise available is enormous. Philologists, sociologists, economists, physicists, journalists, and doctors can assist in the research and there are all kinds of facilities for this. The specialists are ready to address the issues in housing, customs, medical, social law, control and supervision in the financial and budgetary sphere, science and education, subsoil use, tourism, anti-corruption, nature conservation and many others.

    Establishing small innovative enterprises, the University uses one of the mechanisms for transferring scientific developments into practice. St Petersburg University has more than 20 small innovative enterprises in various fields of science and their practices: urban studies, biomedicine, laser chemistry, and geology to name just a few.

    Sergei Belov, Dean of the Faculty of Law, said that the monitoring of law enforcement had been conducted mainly by the lawyers of St Petersburg University, though economists, psychologists, sociologists, linguists and other specialists from the University could be also involved in analysing court decisions and the practice of state authorities, each from their perspective. This would provide for a substantive and comprehensive analysis.

    International activity

    International activity at St Petersburg University was analysed at the recent Rector’s meetings (minutes of the Rector’s meetings dated 14 March 2022, dated 11 April 2022, dated 18 April 2022, and 25 April 2022). According to Deputy Rector for International Affairs Sergey Andryushin, a number of new events happened last week.

    Open lecture of the #SPBUArts cycle "Love and aversion towards Chekhov" within the framework of the activity of the St Petersburg University Representative Office in Spain

    On 28 April, the Representative Office of St Petersburg University in Barcelona held an online lecture "Love and aversion towards Chekhov". It opened the #SPBUArts cycle devoted to the 300th anniversary of the first university in Russia.

    The lecture was given by Andrei Stepanov, Doctor of Philology, Professor in the Department of the History of Russian Literature at St Petersburg University. At the meeting, the lecturer shared a brief history of Anton Chekhov’s career and reputation during the writer’s life and in the first decade after their death. The phenomenon of ‘aversion’ to the writer by the poets of the Silver Age was discussed. In conclusion, Andrei Stepanov touched upon the reasons for the popularity of Chekhov’s plays and short stories among people of different cultures.

    Preparation for the academic year in the joint campus of St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology

    At the moment, the overall 53 cultural heritage buildings have been completed in the territory of the future joint campus in Harbin. The works on interior design, electricity, water, sewage and heating are underway. It is planned to complete the works on the interior design of all the buildings by the end of June 2022. The joint campus will include academic and research facilities, a cultural and arts centre, an international academic exchange centre, and halls of residence (The joint campus of St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology to start teaching students in autumn 2022).

    The Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China approved the projects of agreements between St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology on the implementation of academic programmes in a network format. The organisation of information support for the admission campaign will start in May 2022. In September 2022, it is planned to enrol the first students into the academic programmes on the joint campus. The members of the teams in the Institute of Chemistry, the Faculty of Physics, and the Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty at St Petersburg University will take part in implementing the academic programmes in a network format. Every team has working groups that elaborate on the issues of the academic programme implementation. In early May, the meetings of the three working groups with the participation of representatives on the Russian and Chinese sides will take place. At the meetings, the issues of human resources supporting the implementation of the stated programmes, business trips of the research and teaching staff to the People’s Republic of China, and other organisational issues will be discussed.

    The meeting with the representatives of Renmin University of China

    On 25 April, a working meeting with the representatives of Renmin University of China (Beijing) was held with the participation of experts in the field of economics from St Petersburg University. The partners discussed current issues of cooperation in such fields as opening a representative office of St Petersburg University on the basis of Renmin University of China, creating a joint academic centre in economics, creating a master’s programme in Economics in a network format "Russia and China in International Finance and Trade (in English)".

    This programme was launched at St Petersburg University in 2021. It was devoted to studying the current issues related to the development of financial markets and trade policy in Russia and China, as well as the role of these countries in forming international trade and monetary and financial systems. The programme is implemented in English and offers optional studies of Chinese. The goal of the programme is to prepare specialists in the sphere of financial markets and trade policy in Russia and China to work in the corporate sector, state authorities, international organisations, and research centres related to practical activity in the sphere of finances and foreign trade of Russia and China, as well as to develop and implement trade policy for both countries.

    The visit of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of South Africa in the Russian Federation to St Petersburg University

    On 26 April, Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of South Africa in the Russian Federation, and Vladimir Borisenko, Honorary Consul of the Republic of South Africa to St Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, visited St Petersburg University.

    The Ambassador paid special attention to the work of the council for the master’s programme "World Politics". During the negotiations in 2021, Rector Nikolay Kropachev suggested that the Ambassador head this council. The Ambassador thanked the Rector for the invitation to head the council, studied the work of the academic programme councils and expressed readiness to attract experts from the Republic of South Africa, especially retired diplomats and former leaders of international organisations, who have extensive experience in international activity.

    During the negotiations, the issues of developing cooperation with universities and research institutions of the Republic of South Africa, particularly, with Nelson Mandela University, the largest university in the Republic of South Africa. Following the discussion, a letter was sent to Nelson Mandela University with a proposal to sign a cooperation agreement and a partnership agreement on implementing the project ‘Representative office of St Petersburg University in Nelson Mandela University on the margins of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on 15 to 18 June.

    Plans on establishing a Turkish Cabinet at St Petersburg University

    On 28 April, a regular meeting with the participation of Andrei Vlasenko, Director General of Renaissance Construction, took place. The parties discussed the issues of initiating the establishment of a Turkish Cabinet at St Petersburg University. The works will be performed by the Turkish side as a gift to the University to further promote the teaching of the Turkish language and Turkish studies. The tentative date for starting the repair works is the end of May 2022.

    The Order of the President of the Russian Federation "On taking special reciprocal measures in relation to the unfriendly actions of some foreign states and international organisations"

    In addition to Regulation of the Government of the Russian Federation № 645 ‘On approving the Rules of preparation and receiving the conclusions provided by part 4, article 105 of the Federal Law "On Education in the Russian Federation" for the educational institutions to conclude agreements on the issues of education with foreign organisations and citizens’, Sergey Andryushin underscored that both draft and already existing agreements with foreign physical persons (researchers and other categories) should go through the stage of approval before signing and after signing.

    Order of the President of the Russian Federation "On taking special reciprocal measures in relation to the unfriendly actions of some foreign states and international organisations" dated 3 May 2022 was issued due to unfriendly actions of some foreign states and international organisations. In accordance with this order, within ten days, the Government of the Russian Federation will make a list of legal and physical persons from unfriendly countries, with which any transactions and agreements are prohibited. Upon approving the list, the information will be additionally presented at the Rector’s meeting.

    Changes in human resources

    At the Rector’s meeting, it was announced that starting 4 May 2022, Sergey Sevryukov, Deputy Senior Vice-Rector, Head of the Information Technology Service, has been appointed Vice-Rector for Information Technologies.

    Starting 4 May 2022, Daria Skorospelova, Head of the Public Relations Department, has been appointed Advisor to the Rector’s Office. Polina Ogorodnikova, Deputy Head of the Public Relations Office, has been appointed Acting Deputy Head of the Public Relations Department.

    Moreover, the order approving the candidates for 20 deputy deans and directors for youth policy was drawn. The selection of candidates at the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Economics and the Graduate School of Management is still underway.

    The meeting held by vice-rectors with the heads of departments at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences

    On 22 April, Senior Vice-Rector Elena Chernova, together with Vladimir Eremeev, Vice-Rector for Human Resources, and Elvira Zeletdinova, Vice-Rector for Teaching Methods, held a meeting with the heads of departments at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

    According to Senior Vice-Rector Elena Chernova, Nina Savchenko, Professor of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and Practices in the field of Arts, was introduced to the staff team as Acting Dean of the Faculty for the period of the dean’s absence.

    Special attention was drawn to holding the events on following the requirements of the inspection authorities in adjusting the content of the academic programmes (disciplines). It was noted that this work will continue within the framework of annual updates of the academic and teaching methodology documentation.

    The meeting participants were informed of disciplinary measures taken following the inspection results. Thus, due to failure to manage the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and control the development of work programmes for academic disciplines and the quality of the teaching methodology documentation, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences Danila Raskov was released from the position of Acting Dean and issued a reprimand. Natalia Nekora was taken out of the Teaching Methodology Committee and also issued a reprimand. According to Elvira Zeletdinova, inspection authorities pointed out a number of violations related to the content of academic programmes and the choice of obligatory literature to be used by students.

    Inspection authorities analysed graduation projects that had received negative reviews. In this regard, four research supervisors were brought censured: Zhanna Chernova, Daniil Kotsiubinskii, Andrei Vorobev, and Pavel Kononenko.

    The participants discussed the issues of financial support to the fee-paying students in the form of scholarships from the income coming from the Endowment Foundation as well as payments to the research and teaching staff.

    Elvira Zeletdinova noted that experts from various institutions and faculties at St Petersburg University were invited to work on the conclusion of the inspection authority of the Teaching Methodology Committee at St Petersburg University. In general, over 50 people were attracted to provide for objective and constructive work for the teaching methodology committee at St Petersburg University. Their work resulted in the revision of syllabi (disciplines), including their revision and update in view of correspondence to the regulatory requirements to the literature used in these programmes. The Teaching Methodology Committee of the Academic Council continues its work on analysing the syllabus of the academic discipline and the curriculum of the degree programme "Arts and Humanities" implemented by the staff team of the Faculty.

    During the meeting, Nina Savchenko also shared the following current issues:

    • organising the teaching and learning process during the transition to on-campus studies
    • format of final assessments
    • keeping the control numbers of the master’s programme admission plan for 2022
    • attracting external part-time workers to the teaching and learning process

    Architectural and urban look of the Area of St Petersburg University Development

    At the meeting of the Urban Planning Council of St Petersburg on 26 April, the participants discussed the issue of constructing academic and research buildings in the Pushkinsky District in the Area of St Petersburg University Development. The position of the University on this issue has been voiced in public space many times. In the Area of Development, all conditions to hold a wide range of interdisciplinary research as well as to provide for comfortable accommodation and studies of students will be created.

    As previously mentioned at the Rector’s meetings (Minutes of the Rectors meeting dated 13 December 2021, dated 30 November 2021), buildings for academic classes and research as well as public and sports spaces will appear in the Area of St Petersburg University Development. The Area will also have an equipped library, parks and bicycle lanes.

    "The Neva Delta" Innovative Science and Technology Centre at St Petersburg University will be located nearby, which will enable the University staff and students to provide for the most efficient integration of advanced research developments into the production process.

    Besides the new space for the Area of Development, the University will keep the central campus on Vasilyevsky Island.

    Results of the inspection by the Audit Chamber of the Russian Federation in relation to Lomonosov Moscow State University and St Petersburg University

    In 2021, from 1 to 28 July, the Audit Chamber performed an inspection analysing and assessing the results of implementing the development programme at Lomonosov Moscow State University and St Petersburg University for the time period till 2020. The report of the inspection was published by the Audit Chamber on 26 April 2022. St Petersburg University Strategic Plan till 2020 was approved by Order of the Government of the Russian Federation No 1696-р dated 7 October 2010.

    According to Senior Vice-Rector Elena Chernova, the report indicates that the assessment of the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan confirms the efficiency of the programme (p. 3 of the report). The Audit Chamber also noted an overall efficient use of budgetary funds provided for the programme implementation to St Petersburg University (p. 25 of the report). It also pointed at the impossibility of achieving the obtained results with fewer resources (p. 46 of the report).

    The report indicates the achievements of St Petersburg University in the following main directions:

    • active increase of presence in international rankings (Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Times Higher Education (THE)), which enabled the University to achieve the strategic goals of entering the elite circle of global universities set by the Strategic Plan (pp. 22-23 of the report)
    • providing for an intensive (almost by four times) increase in publication activity (from 0.96 thousand items in 2010 to 3.6 thousand items in 2020 — in the Web of Science and from 1.1 thousand units to 3.96 thousand units — in Scopus for the same period) (p. 19 of the report)
    • threefold increase in the unit weight of courses in English during the time of implementing St Petersburg University Strategic Plan, a significant increase in the number of academic programmes in foreign languages (from 6 to 49) and the number of academic programmes with international accreditation (from 2 to 66) (p. 20 of the report)
    • leading positions of St Petersburg University in Russia among the leading universities in the quality of admissions both based on the Unified State Examination grade and the share of prize winners of the Olympiads (pp. 21-22 of the report), etc

    However, despite the substantial proof of successful performance of tasks set by the Government of the Russian Federation within the framework of St Petersburg University Strategic Plan 2010–2020, without any cause, the Audit Chamber estimated the implementation of the Strategic Plan by Lomonosov Moscow State University and St Petersburg University as insufficiently effective (p. 4 of the report) in the overview of the control event key results according to Elena Chernova based on the following positions:

    • Lomonosov Moscow State University and St Petersburg University lag behind some other universities in the part of the income from commercial research per one research and teaching staff member; the share of income from Research and Development activity in the general income of both universities is decreased (p. 19 of the report)
    • the Audit Chamber found some facts of long-term failure to use the equipment acquired within the framework of the Strategic Plan (p. 43 of the report) and low indicators of its load (p. 44 of the report)
    • Elena Chernova found strange and entirely ungrounded the reprimand to both universities in relation to the drawbacks of the system of target indicators of the Strategic Plan in relation to its unbalanced nature and lack of unified methodological approaches to calculating the values of target indicators as well as its connection to the tasks and results of the Strategic Plan (please, be reminded that the strategic plans are approved not by the universities, but by the orders of the Government of Russia)
    • some violations and drawbacks in the part of implementing the legal requirements on the contractual system in the sphere of procurements of goods and services, bookkeeping requirements and federal property inventory

    According to Elena Chernova, the comments of the Audit Chamber cannot be considered significant to assess the efficiency of implementing the order of the Government of the Russian Federation that approved the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan. These comments fail to withstand constructive criticism.

    For example, a decrease in the share of income from research and development activity at both universities is explained not by its decrease in absolute amounts, but by a pre-emptive increase in the income from other activities. Thus, in calculation per one research and teaching staff member, only in the period from 2015 to 2020, the income from commercial research at St Petersburg University grew from 46,840 roubles to 74,660 roubles or by 1.6 times (p. 20 of the report). Comparison of the indicator of income from commercial research calculated per one research and teaching staff member (primarily, technical profile) is not methodologically reasonable, since it fails to take into account the presence of multiple research and academic fields at Lomonosov Moscow State University and St Petersburg University including the humanities and social sciences that significantly differ in possibilities and financial support required to perform research and technological activity. In the methodology used in preparing the report, the weight indices to compare different research disciplines and fields were not applied.

    The episodes of "long downtime of the equipment" found by the Audit Chamber, were mainly caused by its incompleteness and impairment requiring warranty repair. This, on the contrary, indicates the efficiency of claims activity performed by the University that provides for the performance of all the expensive equipment. Taking into account all the typical technical activity on commissioning and start-up, training the staff and holding tests, the overall indicators of the equipment load at St Petersburg University demonstrate efficient use of the equipment, since only 21.5 % of the equipment units is utilised less than 20 % of the estimated time (p. 45 of the report), while the equipment is utilised with the load of 80.2 % on average. It is strange that the inspectors failed to notice that it was St Petersburg University that created the first research park in Russia with free access to the University staff and students and the persons outside the University, while observing the same general rules for each category of users, said Senior Vice-Rector.

    Elena Chernova underscored once again that strategic plans were approved not by the university councils, but by the orders of the Government of Russia. Thus, the reprimands to the University in relation to the system of target indicators of the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan looks extremely strange. The Audit Chamber should be informed that in 2010 both strategic plans were the first documents for the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Russian Federation, defining goals, tasks and priorities for the university development that correspond to the state goals in the sphere of science and higher education. The Ministry of Education and Science is an authority that develops and implemented state policy and legal regulation in the sphere of higher education and research activity. Undoubtedly, in those years, the development of unified methodological approaches in calculating the indicator values for strategic plans was aggravated by the lack of strategic documents. Only nine years later, the state programme "Scientific and Technological Development of the Russian Federation" approved by Governmental Order № 377 dated 29 March 2019, was recognised as the main regulatory document.

    Elena Chernova added that all the comments and clarifications were in due order officially provided by the University to the Audit Chamber (in the form of proposals sent by St Petersburg University in Letter № 01/1-33-602 dated 15 March 2022 in response to Abstract № 04/78/04-1-03 from the report draft forwarded to St Petersburg University in the letter of the Audit Chamber dated 21 February 2022) and additionally covered at the meeting of the Audit Chamber on 15 March 2022. However, when preparing the final version of the report, the proposals of the University were disregarded without any reason.

    In this regard, according to Elena Chernova, it can be stated that the general conclusions of the report failing to correspond to the actual conclusions of the control event of the Audit Chamber are ungrounded. These conclusions look even stranger if we recall that in the course of regular annual inspections (starting 2013), the Audit Chamber did not voice any claims in relation to the implementation of the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan. The Audit Chamber found specific violations and faults in the procurement of goods and services, requirements of the bookkeeping and federal property inventory count (seven episodes total) were reflected in Report № ПР04/27/04-1-03 dated 18 March 2022 provided by the Audit Chamber. These violations and faults cannot serve as the basis for the statements of insufficient efficiency of the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan, especially when they are dismissed by the content of the report itself.

    The Senior Vice-Rector added that, unfortunately such statements demonstrate that the management of the Audit Chamber departed from the previously declared constructive functional landmarks for general and methodological support of the audited sites. The Audit Chamber shifted towards conflicting interpretation, which can adversely affect public recognition of the Audit Chamber as competent authority of external state control. St Petersburg University hopes to return to partner relations with the Audit Chamber soon.

    In conclusion, Elena Chernova mentioned that Report № ПР04/89/04-1-03, dated 25 April 2022, was forwarded to the University following the results of the control event ‘Checking execution of the law "On a federal budget for the planned period of 2022 and 2023" and budget reporting on implementing the federal budget for 2021’ in relations to St Petersburg University. According to the text of the report, the Audit Chamber found eight technical violations related to several accounting items, regulation of submitting statistical observation forms and publishing the information on inspections and changes in the Charter of St Petersburg University on the bus.gov.ru portal. Once again, the Audit Chamber found no deviations in implementing the law on budget by the University as the main budget holder.

    Round tables with the market participants within the framework of procurement procedure organisation

    St Petersburg University is the only university in Russia to regularly hold round tables with the market participants within the framework of procurement procedure organisation. During the first quarter of 2022, 11 round tables were prepared and held. Currently, nine more events are being prepared. Round tables are held in the format of a video conference in Zoom.

    According to Yury Penov, Deputy Rector for Legal Affairs, positive results of holding round tables include receiving useful feedback and proposals from the market participants on the assessment criteria and technical tasks. Such feedback enables the University not only to formulate the technical task more clearly, and expand competition during procurement, but also to decrease the probability of claims and complaints on the issues discussed.

    Yury Penov also mentioned some difficulties related to organising round tables.

    The deadlines of sending the documents for the preparation of the round table stated by section 3 of the Regulation for holding round tables are regularly violated: 30 days before the date of sending the request for procurement to the employees of the contract department to process the procurement request (Order № 396/1 dated 25 January 2022). Certainly, the sphere of procurement at the University is undergoing a lot of changes. The University officials are performing integration processes to reduce the costs, including administrative costs. Nevertheless, it is hard to work with tight deadlines continuously.

    The University took measures and introduced training procedures for procurement bidders and technical task writers on 10 and 17 February 2022. Despite these measures, the technical task and criteria in the project documentation contain mistakes. Thus, the process of coordinating the criteria and technical tasks takes a very long time.

    It should be noted that, unfortunately, the market representatives do not always take part in round tables. The absence of market participants certainly decreases the effectiveness of the event.

    Holding round tables is a new practice introduced by St Petersburg University only recently, so not all participants of the state procurement market understand their benefit. At the same time, the benefit of such discussions both for the customer and for the future potential participant of the competitive procurement procedure is quite significant. Hopefully, market representatives will monitor the schedule of such round tables and take an active part in it.

    The criminal case for the infliction of large-scale material damage to St Petersburg University

    In the course of the Rector’s meeting dated 21 June 2021, it was reported that the University turned to the law enforcement authorities in relation to the infliction of large scale material damage to St Petersburg University (16.8 mln roubles) when conducting construction works at the academic and research facility "Horizon" (Minutes of the Rectors meeting dated 21 June 2021). As a result of the work on collecting and analysing the information, the data on one of the subcontractors of St Petersburg University were sent to the law enforcement facility. Allegedly, this subcontractor supplied goods and services to the academic and research facility ‘Horizon’ and other academic and research facilities of St Petersburg University. A criminal case was initiated.

    Recently, the materials in relation to one of the defendants of the criminal case have been passed to the court for consideration.

    Special issue of the "St Petersburg University" magazine devoted to the Victory Day published

    Before the Victory Day, a traditional special issue of the "St Petersburg University" magazine devoted to this event was published and released.

    The issue contains articles on the collection of statistical data during the years of the Great Patriotic War ("Vital count"), evacuation and keeping of the archives of Leningrad under the Siege ("Preserve everything that we were entrusted to keep"), evacuation of the collection of Dmitri Mendeleev Museum and Archives and employees of Leningrad State University to the town of Elabuga ("Evacuate in order to come back"), portraits of the leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition countries on postal stamps ("Anti-Hitler coalition in postal stamps"), on the accommodation issue in Leningrad under the Siege ("Square meters of the Siege").

    The editorial team of the magazine and the staff of the Public Relations Department at St Petersburg University expressed gratitude to the staff of the Institute of History and Dmitri Mendeleev Museum and Archives for their work, assistance and active collaboration in preparing the journal issue.

    The electronic version of the issue can be found on the website of the "St Petersburg University" magazine.

    Documents: