1. Restructure the curriculum, beginning with graduate programs and proceeding as quickly as possible to undergraduate programs. The division-of-labor model of separate departments is obsolete and must be replaced with a curriculum structured like a web or complex adaptive network. Responsible teaching and scholarship must become cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural.
Note the skilful manipulation of the web metaphor. I'm impressed by how swiftly and seamlessly he goes from the internet and Santa Fe theory to "cross-cultural."
2. Abolish permanent departments, even for undergraduate education, and create problem-focused programs. These constantly evolving programs would have sunset clauses, and every seven years each one should be evaluated and either abolished, continued or significantly changed. It is possible to imagine a broad range of topics around which such zones of inquiry could be organized: Mind, Body, Law, Information, Networks, Language, Space, Time, Media, Money, Life and Water.
I must say this prospect fills me with horror at an aesthetic level -- "I'm a professor of Time. I don't know none of that Space stuff." Besides, Taylor doesn't seem to get the rationale behind specialization, which is that there's an internal coherence to certain bodies of knowledge, e.g. physics, that has very little to do with what they're ostensibly about. This coherence is useful because it helps you see that some problems are like other, apparently unrelated, problems, which saves a lot of effort. E.g. percolation is like the onset of magnetism, which is like the vulcanization of rubber, and many of these problems -- because they're percolation-like -- can be solved by similar techniques. The original percolation problem is not particularly interesting in itself, but this is often the hallmark of a good problem to study -- most problems of actual interest are messy and intractable as posed.
I'm strongly in favor of people from different disciplines talking to each other: some very puzzling geology problems are physics problems in disguise, some physics problems have solutions that come from chemistry, and everyone needs mathematicians from time to time. But this sort of collaboration presupposes that there are physicists, mathematicians, geologists, etc. to start with. If, instead, everyone knew a mass of logically disconnected information -- everything about water, say, from creation-myths to chemistry -- no one would ever have fruitful connections to make or tools to make them with.
I don't know how far this extends to the humanities because a lot of the disciplinary boundaries are new and ad hoc, but surely it does to some extent. "Duns Scotus's use of citations" (Taylor's stock example of triviality) is in fact emblematic of the differences between medieval and modern notions of scholarship, and therefore of wider differences between medieval and modern approaches to knowledge; this sort of difference is interesting if one is trying to get a handle on e.g. Dante or Chaucer, and someone like Duns Scotus is presumably a better case to study because he's simpler, without all the irony and the literary devices.
Btw, I agree with one of Taylor's points, viz. that universities admit grad students in unreasonable numbers as a cheap way of filling TA slots. This isn't an easy problem to fix, however, and I'm not aware of any useful ideas.