In the 12th century the university replaced the monastery as the primary centre of learning and as a bastion of the ascetic ideal. Scholars replaced monks as guardians of sacred texts; often working alone for long hours in small cells!
In the late 20th century, universities became refuges for those on the left seeking an institutional base from which to launch a critique of contemporary capitalism. We might say that universities today are 'monasteries of the left'.
When viewed in this way, the post-modern attempt to turn universities into knowledge factories amounts to a second wave of monastery dissolution, and this is likely to continue unabated in the medium term.
Do universities have a future? If so, do they need to move away from the monastic model?