In today’s NY Times, Mark Taylor of Columbia calls for the end of the university as we know. As I do in What Would Google Do?, he uses the new structure of our post-industrial age to rethink the structure and work of a university.
He argues for the end of departments — that is the end of taxonomy. He argues for collaboration — that is, specialization (do what you do best and link to the rest). He argues for the end of the centuries-old form of the dissertation — that is, taking advantage of the new forms of creation and information sharing we have at hand. And he argues for the end of tenure — that is, building around merit and value rather than protection.
At the same time, see this post from Mike Hamlyn of Staffordshire University trying to apply some of the precepts of WWGD? to his university.
Here is my entire chapter on remaking the university from WWGD?, in which I argue that we need to separate the functions a university now performs — teaching, certification, research, socialization — and use the power of the link to put together networks of learning, teaching, and knowledge sharing that cut across departmental and institutional — not to mention economic — boundaries.