The Great Brain Race

Michael Alison Chandler

How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World
By Ben Wildavsky. Princeton Univ. 240 pp. $26.95
Globalization is changing the food we eat, the way we communicate and, increasingly, the way we go to college. Nearly 3 million students were enrolled in universities outside their borders in 2009, a 57 percent increase over the previous decade, according to the Institute of International Education, which facilitates exchange programs.
“The Great Brain Race,” by Ben Wildavsky, takes a comprehensive look at today’s worldwide marketplace for college students — with stops in such places as Singapore, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, where western schools, including the University of Chicago and potentially George Mason University, are opening satellite campuses or where local governments are making heavy investments in American-style research universities. The author, a former education editor at U.S. News & World Report, also explores the latest attempts to rate the world’s top colleges now that more students are degree-shopping across borders.