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The Great Brain Race

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The Great Brain Race

How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World

Princeton UP,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Globalization isn’t just changing business; it’s also changing higher education, everywhere.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Given Ben Wildavsky’s focus on higher education, you might assume that only educators would be interested in his book. Don’t make that mistake. Certainly anyone in higher education should read it to understand the forces reshaping that world, and so should secondary teachers and advisers, who need to guide their students. But Wildavsky’s book deserves a wider audience. He convincingly analyzes the changes in higher education as part of globalization and shows how these trends affect international economics. getAbstract recommends this thorough study primarily to educators, but also to those interested in human resources, strategic planning, the industry of education and widespread social trends that are reshaping the world economy.


Exploring “Global Higher Education”

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Madras offers one example of a growing, important new trend: the globalization of higher education. The school is located in a relatively remote area, but its administrators cooperate internationally with leaders from high-profile institutions such as Yale. Visiting faculty come from Brown. Graduates get jobs at Infosys and Sun Microsystems or go to graduate school at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, or at Oxford or Harvard.

Global higher education takes a wide variety of specific forms – a satellite campus here, a study-abroad program there, institutional cooperation in a third country – but look closely and you’ll see that globalization is reshaping education from Singapore to London. Such changes have happened before. Medieval students traveled across Europe to study at emerging “universities in Bologna, Paris and Oxford.” After World War II, the United States drew many foreign students. Today’s change is faster and more intense. Higher education has become globally competitive. No longer do American schools compete only with one another, or...

About the Author

Ben Wildavsky is a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation as well as a former education editor of US News & World Report.

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