How to balance the complexity of an University

It is necessary to keep in mind that within the characteristics of contemporary knowledge, we find the increasingly accelerated growth, increasing complexity and its tendency to a rapid obsolescence, all of which influence the work of the University. The highest complexity of contemporary knowledge includes the interdisciplinary nature in the exercise of the university functions as the only way of responding. The internal structure of knowledge is also subject to changes. We live, as it has been mentioned, in the “era of possibilities or probabilities“, where one cannot take for granted any knowledge. If the XX century was the century of scientific certainties and accelerated development of the different disciplines and sub-disciplines, the present century is destined to be the century of uncertainty, interdisciplinary and the recovery of the holistic vision of knowledge. Uncertainty becomes an incentive for the advance of knowledge. At the same time, the issues that once had a clear disciplinary focus, now have an inter- and trans-disciplinary tasks. It is not possible anymore to study the reality around us without an interdisciplinary perspective.


On top, knowledge is produced in different areas, every time closer to its practical use, and in developed countries, due to its technological applications, it tends to move from the academic institutions to the productive companies, which means a great risk for the disinterested character and common good nature, dedicated to the service of the humanity, of the knowledge generated by university research.


The existence of a knowledge that doesn’t know boundaries entails unprecedented challenges for contemporary higher education. One can talk about the “globalization of knowledge”, a process that involves universities. However, such globalization often covers up a process of corporatization of academic knowledge, with the risk of a higher control of the results and university research by companies, specially multinational corporations. The University, true to its own essence, should continue being the place for the disinterested search of knowledge.