Are disciplines becoming less important? I think they are. Universities are gradually changing how they operate as disciplines become less central to the construction of knowledge.
Historically there are several universities that have tried different ways to organize their academics. In Britain, they include the University of Sussex, which for a long time divided itself into “Schools of Study,” so that students could benefit from a multidisciplinary teaching environment. In the United States, Arizona State University has done something similar with its degree programs.
But these kinds of large experiments with disciplinary mix are still comparatively rare. What has happened at most universities is something different: a slow shift in the gardening of knowledge, moving from strict formal borders to drifts. In this vein, five changes come to mind. <Read more.>