RUSSIAN STATE UNIVERSITY FOR THE HUMANITIES
RUSSIAN STATE UNIVERSITY FOR THE HUMANITIES
Rector of RSUH answers the questions of the Press Service about the current educational process at the University
21.10.2020

Rector of RSUH answers the questions of the Press Service about the current educational process at the University

Today a meeting on the training format during the pandemic was held at RSUH. It was attended by members of the administration, directors of institutes, deans and students of various faculties. Before this meeting, Rector Alexander Bezborodov gave an interview to the Press Service.

— How many staff and faculty members have contracted a coronavirus infection to date?

Since January 2020, the total number has amounted to 108 people, of which 64 are currently sick, including 51 students and 13 faculty and staff members. All of them are in self-isolation and are undergoing treatment.

— Is it possible for the quarantined students to go back to classes before the quarantine is over?

Now there are 52 academic groups in quarantine (if at least one of the students is suspect of having contracted the infection, the whole group is sent to a two-week quarantine). Yesterday I was approached by a group of students from the Faculty of History and Philology with an urgent request to get out of quarantine ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, I could not give such permission, since in accordance with the Recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor, the quarantine period cannot be less than 14 days.

I would also like to add that no university body has the right to make decisions to send students to quarantine or allow them to start their studies early. This is the prerogative of Rospotrebnadzor. It is they who make the decision as to who goes into quarantine and for how long. We are talking about purely medical decisions made by professionals.

— Are there any violations of social distance at the University during classes?

We are striving to ensure compliance with the Recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, for example, during breaks when students are moving about. Under these conditions, the more important thing is the strict observance of the mask regime. The administration checks the compliance regularly, several times a day, and I should note that, unfortunately, some students are behaving irresponsibly. Taking this opportunity, I once again urge everyone to wear masks. This is for our own safety.

— Are there any 65+ teachers who still come to work?

Currently, more than 30% of faculty and staff have been transferred to the remote mode, of those there are 215 65+ teachers, as well as those who have expressed a desire to work remotely for other reasons, due to having to be at home with children or living with the elderly, sick parents, etc. However, there are some 65+ teachers who conduct classes both online and offline. They motivate their choice by the fact that not all types of classes can be transferred online without the loss of quality.

— Do you think that the transition to the online format will allow RSUH to maintain the proper level of education quality?

The use of online learning tools is the imperative of the times, and we have been using elements of this format for several years, including the educational process online, in which both the courses by our teachers and by experts from leading universities are taught. At the same time, one can agree with the opinion that it is more expedient to conduct part of the practical, laboratory and language classes offline (for example, classes on archiving documents, practical phonetics, design and restoration, etc.). Also, the online format does not allow for the realization of a  very important aspects related to live communication between teachers and students, that is, the acquisition of social experience and self-organization, the ability to work in a team, on projects, etc.

How would you comment on the results of the survey conducted among students on the possibility of switching to the remote learning format?

It is very important for us to take into account the opinion of students, we always try to listen to it, and that is why I supported the initiative of the Joint Council of Students and the Student Union to conduct a survey about the online learning format. The results of the survey are somewhat ambiguous. 58% of the respondents were in favor of the remote format. At the same time, more than 25% were against the transition.

— Will the transition to a full online format affect the health of students and teachers?

I think these fears are not unfounded. According to experts, constant exposure to a computer screen can cause fatigue and decreased visual acuity. Moreover, some teachers and students do not have the opportunity to organize a personal workspace at home, and not everyone has the equipment of the required level, etc. During the spring pandemic, many students complained of fatigue, decreased attention, too many distractions and other circumstances. All this must be taken into account when deciding on the format of the educational process.

— Does the Rector’s Office receive requests for a full transition to the online format?

— Yes, indeed, I received requests from both the undergraduate (5 groups) and graduate students (10 groups) with a request to transfer their classes to an online format. We grant these requests if there is a written consent of all students in this group.

— We have heard that a group of digital volunteers has been formed at RSUH. Could you tell us about it?

— In order to organize the educational process more effectively, to assist teachers in the use of information technology when conducting online classes, we announced a recruitment of digital volunteers. More than 50 students responded to our call and expressed a desire to help. They were trained at the Institute of Continuing Education of RSUH. They are involved in organizing more than 100 online broadcasts per day, for which the teachers are deeply grateful.

— What are the plans of RSUH for the further organization of the educational process?

— We are closely monitoring the situation of the spread of coronavirus, studying the experience of other universities, consulting with experts and taking into account the opinions of students. When making decisions, we will be guided by the recommendations of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia, Rospotrebnadzor and the executive authorities of the city of Moscow. I assure you that information about the decisions made by the administration will be promptly communicated to all faculty and students. I wish you all good health!

A summary of the meeting has been published online.

Faculty members of the Institute of Post-Soviet and Interregional Studies of RSUH received the Award of the Government of the Russian Federation

On October 15, 2020, the ceremony of presenting the Award of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of education took place at the House of the Government of the Russian Federation.

The faculty members of the Institute of Post-Soviet and Interregional Studies (Efim Pivovar, President of RSUH, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Institute, Dr. Alexander Gushchin, Associate Professor, Senior Researcher, Dr. Alexander Levchenkov, Associate Professor, Senior Researcher, Dr. Irina Khanova, Associate Professor, Head of the Department for Humanitarian Cooperation with Post-Soviet Countries Abroad) were the laureates of the Award.

The Award was presented by Mr. Mikhail Mishustin, Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation. The ceremony was attended by Ms.Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia for Social Policy, and Mr.Valery Falkov, Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

The program "Legal and Historical Knowledge as the Basis for the Human Rights Activities of Compatriots", aimed at forming a corpus of historical and legal knowledge among Russian compatriots that will increase their level of education and practical skills, was nominated for the 2020 Government Prize in the Field of Education by the decision of the Academic Council of RSUH in February 2020.

The target audience of the program is compatriots living abroad (aged 18 to 35), specializing in the protection of their rights, support and strengthening of their legal status, preservation of their historical and cultural heritage. The program was developed by the team of authors of the Department of Post-Soviet Countries of RSUH in 2013 and is being implemented right now. The lecturers of the program are experts and faculty members of RSUH and other institutions, public figures and human rights activists.

The program has repeatedly received high praise from the administration of relevant government bodies, educational institutions and public associations, as well as foreign organizations of compatriots.