The Great Brain Race: The Globalization of Higher Education

It's not just American business that has gone global. American universities have, too. In response to the 
worldwide demand for American-style higher education, American universities have expanded into countries 
across the globe - opening branches from Cairo to Canberra. What does this mean for the equality of 
education available to students abroad, and in America? And what effect will spreading American-style 
education have on a workforce becoming increasingly mobile?

Transcript


Grace Creek Media

"IIA Great Brain Race"


JIM GLASSMAN:

(MUSIC) Would to Ideas in Action, a television series about ideas and their consequences.  I'm Jim Glassman.  This week is not just American business that has gone global, American universities have too.  In response to the worldwide demand for American-style higher education, American universities have expanded into countries across the globe opening branches from Cairo to Canberra.


Joining me to explore this topic are Ben Wildavsky.  He's the author of The Great Brain Race:  How Global Universities are Reshaping the World, and a senior fellow at the Kaufman Foundation.  Beth McMurtrie-- she's the Senior Editor of International News at The Chronicle of Higher Education where she oversees a team of foreign correspondents.  And Peter N. Stearns; he's the Provost at George Mason University.  He's the author of Educating Global Citizens in Colleges and Universities.  The topic this week:  minds on the move.  Can America's universities meet the global challenge?  This is Ideas in Action.

ANNOUNCER:

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JIM GLASSMAN:

This is Education City, a brand new, 2,500-acre campus in the tiny nation of Qatar on the Persian Gulf.  Some of America's leading universities have set up shop here.  Guests of a royal family that wants an American education for their next generation of scientists, engineers and even journalists.  In fact, American universities are opening branches all over the map hoping to cash in on one of the world's most fluid markets:  the global trade in knowledge.


More than three million students are now studying outside their home countries, and 22 percent of them are enrolled here in the U.S.  It's a trend that will likely continue reshaping not only American higher education, but international relations as well.  How 'bout that, Ben?  Does this new trend have the opportunity to change relations between countries?

BEN WILDAVSKY:

I think there are clearly educational benefits to this kind of knowledge exchange.  I think there are economic benefits.  I'm actually agnostic as to whether or not there are-- real benefits for international relations.  I guess I would just briefly say it's a little bit like business.  We have globalization of business.  We have lots of interaction.  I think it's been a-- a net plus for the world.  I don't know whether it's made everybody-- hold hands and be friends.

JIM GLASSMAN:

You know, Peter, Ben's book is called The Great Brain Race, which might imply to some people that there are winners and losers.  I mean, do you agree with that?  I mean, are there winners and losers here?  Can the United States, for example, be a loser-- 

PETER N. STEARNS:

Well-- 

JIM GLASSMAN:

Or does it benefit everybody?

PETER N. STEARNS:

My basic answer is it has the potential for wide benefit.  So, I don't think it's a win/lose proposition.  However, there will be types of universities and types of countries that will do better than others.  And, frankly, right now, although we're doing okay currently, we are under-- new competitive pressure with regard to international educational opportunities.

JIM GLASSMAN:

You-- Beth, when I look at a list-- like Newsweek has a list of-- they-- the top universities in the-- in the world and there are ten universities.  Eight of them are U.S., one's Oxford and one's Cambridge.  So, eight out of the ten are American.  But, is there the chance within the next few years that by standards such as this that an American university will be overtaken by universities in Asia, for example, or Europe or-- or even in the Middle East?

BETH MCMURTRIE:

I don't think anybody would predict that American universities will be overtaken as a system by other countries.  I think what you're seeing now are pockets of excellence in other countries where governments choose to invest in certain areas of research or they put a lot of effort into recruiting students.  You might see individual institutions rise within those rankings.

JIM GLASSMAN:

Ben, you-- you're-- you're saying that-- that th-- this new, global trend is really all about student mobility.  What-- what do you mean by that?

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Well, I think we just have to look at the sheer numbers.  I mean, this is an old trend.  When the first western university started in the Middle Ages, students traveled around Europe, you know, to Paris and Bologna, Oxford, the very first western universities.  But, now, we have this-- it-- it's gone to warp speed.  As-- as you said, three million students globally mobile traveling outside their home countries.  That's 57 percent increase in a decade.  So, it's an enormous phenomena.  And you have other kinds of mobility.  Mobility of research.  Mobility of campuses, themselves, as you mentioned.

JIM GLASSMAN:

And is that mobility-- the result of people becoming richer?  Is it-- is it the result of better transportation?  I mean, what's going on here?

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Really, there's this hunger for getting the best knowledge wherever you can get it.  It's what some people have called the "commodification of knowledge."  And that means if people have the means and the-- the ease of travel, and if universities are open to recruiting the best students they can get, and often fee-paying-- fee-paying students as well-- people will take advantage of those opportunities.

JIM GLASSMAN:

What-- what-- it-- what benefits-- Beth do-- do other countries get from having American universities there?  I mean, we-- we hear-- I-- I visit-- I visited-- Education City myself in Qatar and, you know, it's quite a phenomenon.  But, you sort 'a wonder, you know, are-- are the people in Doha, the people in Qatar really benefiting from this?

BETH MCMURTRIE:

Well, I think it is true that it's sort of an elite segment within these societies potentially that-- that actually benefits directly from education.  But, I think also potentially it could really raise the game of public institutions within those countries.  You take the Gulf, for example, like many parts of the world, teaching there is very traditional, focused on rote memorizations.  


Students aren't cour-- aren't encouraged to think critically.  Perhaps by having places like Education City there or NYU's new Abu Dhabi Campus, which is the-- going to be the first liberal arts campus in the Gulf-- educators there can learn from the American example and adopt some of the better practices.

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Well, let's not forget these are coeducational universities.  That's huge.  I-- I-- I interviewed the President at the University of Qatar at her university-- it is a she.  But, at her university, men and women are in separate classrooms.  So, you can go across town to one of these western campuses and men and women are studying together.

JIM GLASSMAN:

And-- and, really, the most stunning example is-- and you talk about it in your book-- is King Abdullah University of Science and Technology where in Saudi Arabia, men and women are going to school together.  And this is the-- am I right to say this is the only educational institution in Saudi Arabia where that takes place?

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Yes, that is correct.  I mean, this is a big-- it's-- it's revolutionary there.  I mean, again, it's-- it's a compound, you know?  Some people would say it's really distinct from mainstream Saudi society.  But, I think it's symbolically very important.  And the first week they-- they opened last fall.  The first week, one of the-- the moms on the governing religious council for Saudi Arabia said this was evil that men and women were studying together.  Well, King Abdul fired her.  So, I thought that was pretty important symbolically.

JIM GLASSMAN:

So-- so, a university like this kind of provides a-- a wedge that may-- may open up a society like Saudi Arabia's to-- to a more let's call it liberal culture.  I mean, are you seeing-- are your reporters seeing that?

BETH MCMURTRIE:

Well-- not yet.  I think there's still these branches campuses are very new.  They're still sort of behind these gated communities almost literally.  And there's still I would say within the countries a lot of suspicion toward branch campuses where they feel like the Americans-- the wealthy Americans are coming in and poaching some of their students. 


You see this debate playing out now in India.  For years and years, American and other institute-- other universities wanted to get involved in India.  And a lot of politicians, particularly from, say, the Communist Party said, "We don't want you here.  We don't want-- to create a system of haves and have-nots where the wealthiest students can get an American education, and everybody else is left out."

JIM GLASSMAN:

Of course, they can get that American education anyway by traveling-- 

BETH MCMURTRIE:

That's true.

JIM GLASSMAN:

--To the United States.

BETH MCMURTRIE:

That's true.

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Well, no, and the-- the paradox-- and the shame of it is India is a population that is just, you know, d-- desperate to improve its-- its educational prospects.  They have a terribly inadequate university system both in terms of the number of places and the quality.  And, yet, for many years until just recently when there's a bill that might change things, they've kept out all these foreign universities that could come and help their population.  I think it's-- I think it's a tragedy.

JIM GLASSMAN:

Peter, I'd like to talk about-- George Mason's own experience.  I mean, the fact is that there are many universities including Michigan State, including George Mason that have made an attempt to-- export their campuses and it hasn't quite worked.  Tell us a bit-- tell us your story at George Mason.

PETER N. STEARNS:

Well, the-- the sp-- specific story with regard to the campus, we operated briefly in the United Arab Emirates that-- we had a partner who was ambivalent about the purpose of higher education.  And I think the ambivalence is perfectly understandable.  We now encounter it all the time.  The ambivalence is between a sort of long-term-higher-education-takes-many-years-to-pay-off view, which I believe is the correct one as opposed to if we don't breach-- fiscal stability within five years, we've failed.  


And that ambivalence plus the economic situation-- led to a situation where we simply could not per-- persist in that effort.  Although, we've-- maintained operations in-- other settings.  There are special situations like Qatar, like Abu Dhabi with NYU where people take a longer view and/or have deeper pockets.  But, there are lots of other situations that are, frankly, harder to evaluate.

JIM GLASSMAN:

And you think that in order to succeed, these kind of transplanted universities or branches need to look to the longer-- longer run?

PETER N. STEARNS:

The-- no question you need a longer run-- lot longer run.  And by the way, there is historical experience here.  There was a batch of American universities attempted to set up operations in Japan in the 1980s.  Only one ended up succeeding.  So, this is an experience that we have lived through before, and I, frankly, think some of the-- uncertainties are-- are predictable and likely to continue.

BETH MCMURTRIE:

These are not really money-making ventures by and-- 

PETER N. STEARNS:

That's correct.

BETH MCMURTRIE:

--Large.  I mean, if you-- I suppose if you set up a very exclusive, small, executive MBA program, for example, you could probably make a bit of money.  But, I think most American and other-- other countries' branch campuses have found that it costs a lot of money and it takes an enormous amount of time-- 

(OVERTALK)

BETH MCMURTRIE:

--To do these right.

JIM GLASSMAN:

I think in Qatar-- maybe I should ask Ben about this.  But, in Qatar, isn't it really the fact that the-- the-- 

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Yes.

JIM GLASSMAN:

--Government there wants to improve the quality of education in general for its elites and I guess even lower down?  And, so, they're willing to make the investment.  And you-- and you need that kind of partner.

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Absolutely.  Well, that's one model.  And that-- that's-- makes it much easier for a place like Georgetown or Texas A&M to go in 'cause they're not trying to turn a profit.  Those governments (and I was told this very clearly)-- they know the oil money's not going to last forever.  They know that, you know, this is a buzz phrase:  knowledge economy.  But, it happens to be sometimes conventional wisdom is true.  And they want to have a much b-- better educated population both with their own nationals and in the region, and they think this is the way to get there.

JIM GLASSMAN:

Now, on the financial side, there's also the fact that American universities are benefiting from foreign students.

BETH MCMURTRIE:

It's hugely significant to a lot of American universities.  The-- the figure I've heard is seven-- something like $17 billion comes into the U.S. economy through foreign students' tuition and living expenses and things like that.  S-- universities will often talk about-- not only does it add to the bottom line, but it also adds to the diversity of their campuses as well.  So, it's-- it's critical, I think, for many universities to continue that flow.

JIM GLASSMAN:

And what's your experience on that, Peter?  I-- you know, I know that after 9/11, there was a drop off.  But-- we're now at record levels in the United States for foreign-- 

PETER N. STEARNS:

Yes, although-- 

JIM GLASSMAN:

Foreign students.

PETER N. STEARNS:

Although, again, as I mentioned before, we face increasing competition from a variety of sources.  So, our trajectory has been-- much more stable than, say, Australia or UK or even now places like Singapore.  So, yes, we're doing better.  It's at least for the foreseeable future an important aspect of American educational activity.  But-- we're not doing this alone.  And the-- the environment is-- is intense. 

BEN WILDAVSKY:

And I think we have to be really clear, though, it's the brain-- it's not just the-- the revenues.  That can be a part of it.  It's not just the diversity.  Though, that's part of it.  It's the brainpower.  And we need that.  


If we care about meritocracy and excellence and that's what's made our institutions the world's leaders since World War Two, we need the best brains here.  And I think that intermittently there's been some (what I call in my book) academic protectionism.  There's ambivalence about it.  There's sometimes hostility.  Are foreign students going to crowd out American students?  I think this is very badly misplaced.

JIM GLASSMAN:

But, really, how serious is that?  I mean, you-- you do show examples in the book.  But, it seems to me that-- that-- that there are really-- there aren't too many academic protectionists around anymore, are there?

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Well, you sometimes see it as not necessarily at the university level.  But, visa policies.  We have these-- 

(OVERTALK)

BEN WILDAVSKY:

--Restrictions on H1B visas, which are for talented, foreign workers.  Well, that has a-- a rebound effect, which is if students come here to study hoping to work afterward and we send a message, well, you know, we're going to make it hard for you to work, they're more likely to go to our competitors.

JIM GLASSMAN:

And-- and are you seeing-- just Peter-- just your own experience at George Mason.  Where are the students coming from?

PETER N. STEARNS:

Well, the-- the-- the two vast sources currently are China and India.  But, all of us for a variety of reasons are trying to diversify with increasing recruitment efforts in Southeast Asia, in Sub-Saharan Africa.  But, China and India are the-- are the-- the big pools at this point.  South Korea is still an-- an important source d-- despite some demographic-- stability.  So, East Asia and India are the big sources.  But, Japan has, for example, reduced its-- its-- export of students.

JIM GLASSMAN:

China is trying to top the international rankings.  Do you think that's ever going to happen?

BETH MCMURTRIE:

Well, again, I think it-- it goes back to maybe an individual institution would-- could slowly move up within the rankings.  But, China's system is actually vastly underfinanced.  If you get beyond the elite institutions to the more provincial, public institutions, I-- it-- it can be pretty barebones at times.


But, that said, the Tsinghuas and the Baidas and the Fudan Universities-- these-- you know, their M.I.T.s and Harvards are really doing a lot to-- to raise their profiles to recruit international students, to recruit top talent.  Lot of deans, administrators, presidents-- have worked in the U.S. or studied in the U.S. at some point and are going back because they see real opportunity there.

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Oh, yeah, it's a-- it's a global, competitive marketplace.  And I think we have to see that it goes well beyond our branch campuses.  And China and Saudi Arabia-- Saudi Arabia's KAUST is not a branch campus.  It's their own effort to create a great, you know, world-class university.  South Korea is doing the same thing.


China is now taking in more foreign students than it sends overseas.  So, I think the-- I-- I don't disagree that we're not-- the rankings aren't going to shaken up overnight.  But, I think there's a real possibility if we look at a 50-year time horizon or a 100-year time horizon the pecking order could really change.

JIM GLASSMAN:

Yeah, I'm-- I'm really fascinating by KAUST.  King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.  You say that they're spending-- I think you said $5 billion?  

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Ten. 

JIM GLASSMAN:

Ten.  Whoops.  Okay.  So, $10 billion just to launch this university.  I mean, can you-- can you buy that kind of academic status that they seem to be aiming for?

BEN WILDAVSKY:

I think we'll-- you know, it's early days.  They've-- they've-- they've only been open less than a year.  What they've done I think is very-- instructive, though.  And, again, we've talked about business globalization as a parallel, you know?  If you're trying to create a great company, what do you do?  You seek the top people.  You try to collaborate with the best minds.  


So, KAUST has worked with places like Stanford, with Imperial College in London-- U-- I think University of Texas.  They have a lot of partners.  And they've actually brought them in to hire their first batch of faculty.  So, it's a very interesting beast.  It's an amalgam of sort of Western university know-how being transplanted to a sort of boutique, graduate-level institution in Saudi Arabia.  I think we'll know in-- in ten years whether or not they've-- they've had the kind of success that would give them that world-class status.

BETH MCMURTRIE:

Here-- here's one area, though, where think if-- if they hit a wall where they're going to hit it, and it has to do with-- critical thinking and freedom of ideas and exchange of ideas-- 

JIM GLASSMAN:

Yeah--

BETH MCMURTRIE:

Saudi Arabia is Saudi Arabia.  China is China.  To-- the reason the American system is so strong is because of this freedom of thought and this encouragement of true innovation pushing through barriers, proposing different ways of thinking and doing things.  I-- I don't think any of us are seeing that yet in some of these countries.

JIM GLASSMAN:

Yeah.  Let's explore that.  I mean, is-- is it-- is-- is it possible, in fact, to export that kind of-- that kind of atmosphere?  I don't know what you-- what you found in your-- your-- 

PETER N. STEARNS:

Well, the-- the Chinese-- 

JIM GLASSMAN:

--Experience-- 

PETER N. STEARNS:

--Are trying.

JIM GLASSMAN:

--And you-- 

PETER N. STEARNS:

I mean, I-- I would agree that there are a variety of Chinese institutions.  But, there are educators in China that will give you as an eloquent defense of-- of the importance of critical thinking as any American could do.  So, I believe this is one area where collaboration is really going to pay off for all parties.  Not in changing the whole Chinese system.  But, in producing areas where-- their pedagogy and their educational goals come much closer to the kinds of things we value.  Partly because we're working with them, and they with us.  

JIM GLASSMAN:

Ben, you talk about free trade in minds.  Kind of this "Adam Smith-ian" view of the world that's going to be encouraged by the globalization of higher education.  Is that-- do you see that actually happening now?  Or is that just kind of a-- a dream?

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Well, I think it's absolutely happening.  I mean, you know, I wouldn't claim-- I-- I certainly try not to be naïve or starry eyed about this.  But, I think when you look at the degree of mobility that we see of students seeking out opportunities based much more than ever in history on merit, you know?  You can be an Indian student.  You can do well on the National Exam.  You can go to one of their elite technology institutions.  I interviewed kids like this.  And then you can have a springboard to a-- to a global career.  The same thing is true in China.  I think that free trade in minds is beginning to happen.  And I think that if we-- if we lower what barriers remain-- we'll have more and more of a free flow of people and of ideas, and I think that does create a-- all the benefits you get with free trade in other-- in other areas.

JIM GLASSMAN:

And that's really the other important value that-- that-- universities can-- can achieve through export I-- I-- I would hope anyway.  This kind of idea meritocracy.  I mean-- for many years, universities abroad really-- just educated the elite, the well connected.  And do you see that changing?  

BETH MCMURTRIE:

I think so.  I mean, a--  a lot of the area where I see that happening is in-- in not so much students.  Although, I think that's true.  But, also, in the hiring of faculty.  In many other countries, to be a professor is to be a civil servant.  Which means that you're-- there's no incentive to-- to do the best job that you can do, to push your students, to-- go beyond the rote lecture.  And I think the-- the American style is not that.  You really have to prove yourself on a daily basis.  And, so, I think if-- if those ideas get translated into other environments, you could see much more vibrant apa-- academic cultures.

JIM GLASSMAN:

Peter, do-- do we run any risk-- I know that the notion of free trade in minds is-- is a wonderful one I certainly subscribe to.  But, you know, do we run any risk that-- of sending our knowledge and talent-- 

PETER N. STEARNS:

Sure.

JIM GLASSMAN:

--To competitive nations?

PETER N. STEARNS:

Sure.  Of course, we will.  We are.  And the risk is-- so-- so-- occasionally, we will find ourselves burned, annoyed that somebody picked up something more quickly than they would have otherwise.  But, the question is one of timing.  Nothing's going to happen that wouldn't happen ultimately anyway.


The timing may vary because of international context.  But, the vin-- benefits in terms of our standing in the eyes of other people, the kind of knowledge we can benefit from that's being generate elsewhere-- the general atmosphere of-- global collaboration-- this all stands far to the-- far to the-- excess of any-- any-- any risk involved.

JIM GLASSMAN:

By the way, does George Mason have any plans now going forward-- to internationalize-- in addition to bringing international students--? 

PETER N. STEARNS:

Oh, sure.

JIM GLASSMAN:

--To the university, do-- do you want to-- do you want to-- 

PETER N. STEARNS:

We-- 

JIM GLASSMAN:

--Do any exporting?

PETER N. STEARNS:

Well, there-- there are two aspects-- two aspects to that.  One is-- we are exploring a couple of specific opportunities.  One most notably in South Korea for establishment of our own programs.  But, the-- the wave of the future, really, which we haven't directly touched on is not Americans directly establishing branch campuses.  This will continue to be important.


But, the wave of the future is collaboration with international institutions.  In degree programs, we-- we have currently seven-- dual-degree programs with institutions in various places.  This is going to grow very rapidly.  It's an opportunity for our students as well as international students.  And this is-- this is-- this is where globalization and education is really heading.  Collaboration rather than blanket export of American models.

JIM GLASSMAN:

What happened to your faculty that went to Dubai?  Did they-- did they like it?  

PETER N. STEARNS:

Every-- literally, every faculty member that we sent over there (many of whom were extremely skeptical before they went) ended up having a really interesting time.  They didn't necessarily want to stay all that long.  I don't mean that-- that we had-- resolved all problems.  But, the stimulation, the-- the excitement were-- were-- well beyond their expectations.

JIM GLASSMAN:

Did-- did you have to pay them more?

PETER N. STEARNS:

We-- again, remember this was a short experiment.  Had we gone on for a longer period, we were expecting to have to pay modest premiums-- other places have offered more.  It's a mix and there-- there are real challenges among other things in mingling American faculty with other faculty at potentially differential pay rates.  So, there's some very difficult issues involved.

JIM GLASSMAN:

And I think you-- you talked about some pretty high rates of pay, in fact.  

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Oh, yes.

JIM GLASSMAN:

For-- for people going to places like Qatar.  

BEN WILDAVSKY:

Yeah, absolutely.  I mean, I came across this sort of by accident.  But, the very impressive guy-- the-- the Dean of the Georgetown's Foreign Service Program in-- in Qatar-- he's since come back to the main campus.  He was there for at least three or four years and he was making the same as the President of Georgetown.  Somewhere in the $400-- $450,000 range.  So, the-- that's not the typical package.  But, the-- the faculty are getting a lot of the typical ex-pat benefits in-- in the Middle East.  So, they're getting free private school tuition for their stud-- for their-- for their-- kids.


They're getting the housing.  They're getting business class travel once or twice a year.  And they're getting salary premiums that-- in some places it's hard to pin them down.  But, maybe a 33 percent above what they would be getting in the States.

JIM GLASSMAN:

The-- let-- let's end this by-- I just want to ask all of you where you think the growth areas are going forward in international education.  Either geographically or-- or any other sense.  

BETH MCMURTRIE:

Yeah.  Well, I think I-- I completely agree with what Peter said earlier.  That-- that the future is deeper engagement with institutions and other countries.  It's n-- I don't think it's the branch campus model.  I think it's too hard, too time consuming.  And as other countries-- gr-- grow in sophisticated, they're-- they're going to become less interested in the-- just the ex-- exporting of the American model.


So, what you'll see are faculty-- exchanges on a-- on a deeper-- level.  You'll see u-- university-to-university engagement where multiple departments are coming together to work on global issues.  So, you'll see the circulation of-- of-- of academics rather than, here, take our model of American education.

JIM GLASSMAN:

You know a-- another model like that is-- American University in Washington opened a school in Sharjah, which is one of the Emirates-- where they helped the-- the government-- 

PETER N. STEARNS:

Yes.

JIM GLASSMAN:

--Set up something and then they left.

PETER N. STEARNS:

Yes.

JIM GLASSMAN:

They did it for seven years.  Turned it all over to the government.  I think they're doing the same in Nigeria.

PETER N. STEARNS:

In Nigeria.  Yes.  Well, they n-- they-- they-- they never ran the operation.  They provided intensive consulting.  We're doing the same with-- with a number of campuses in the Middle East and Africa.

JIM GLASSMAN:

And where do you think the growth areas are?

PETER N. STEARNS:

Oh, well, again, collaboration.  I hope exch-- an accelerated pace of American students taking advantage of global opportunities.  We've tended to emphasize the international flow to the American model.  It has to be matched by increasing Ameri-- increasing American wa-- awareness of global opportunities and systems in other countries, and that's an area that we need to work on.

BEN WILDAVSKY:

You know, I, again-- I think this whole notion that who is us and who is them is going to change a lot.  We tend to-- again, we sometimes hear concern about being overtaken by other countries, you know?  What's going to happen if the Chinese really do build up their universities?  Well, number one, I think we shouldn't be worried about that because again the free-trade model is it's win/win, you know?


More smart people in China with PhDs is good for us.  It's not bad for us.  It gives us all kinds of opportunities.  But, again, if we start having a lot of collaboration and we-- we have a world in which there's what's called "massification", vastly increased enrollment-- I mean, China's quintupled their enrollment in the last-- decade or so.  But, not only massively increased enrollment, but also a real focus on creating excellent institutions in the American model.  I think that's just going to just create an effect of more and more people getting the benefits of education both at the mass level and-- and at the high level that's going to create knowledge and innovation.  I'm very, as you can tell, optimistic about this.

JIM GLASSMAN:

Just-- I just want to follow up.  La-- last item on what Peter said about Americans going abroad.  I mean, I-- I read a statistic that was actually quite disappointing that only, I think, one and a half percent of Americans-- university students do any study abroad at all.  I mean, is-- is that a problem?

BEN WILDAVSKY:

I think Americans will go abroad when there's a good reason for them to go.  If Europe or in Asia or in the Middle East there are truly great programs created, they will become a magnet just as we've been a magnet.  We used to all go to Germany in the 19th Century.  And now the Germans are looking to us to figure out how they should improve their own system.  So, ultimately, it's going to be-- it's a free market.  It's going to be where people can go and get what they want.

JIM GLASSMAN:

And that's a good place to end it.  Thank you Ben, thank you Peter and thank you Beth.  Before we go, want to remind viewers that you can catch Ideas in Action whenever and wherever you choose.  To watch complete shows, just go to our website Ideasinactiontv.com or download a pod cast from the I-tunes store.  And that's it for this week's Ideas in Action.  I'm Jim Glassman.  Thanks for watching. (MUSIC)

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Beth McMurtrie

Senior Editor (International) at The Chronicle of Higher Education

Beth McMurtrie is Senior Editor of international news at The Chronicle of Higher Education, where she specializes in the Internationalization of American higher education, higher-education developments in other nations, studies abroad, and global competition for foreign-student enrollment. The award-winning Ms. McMurtrie has traveled for The Chronicle to report on higher-education developments in China, Japan, and Singapore, among other places. She was responsible for a landmark series in 2007, "The Global Campus," which examined the growing international focus of American higher education. Beth was hired by The Chronicle in 1999 to cover religion, accreditation, and international issues. She was promoted to senior editor in 2003. Previously, she covered higher education for the News & Record, in Greensboro, N.C. She has also been a reporter for The Tampa Tribune and Newsday.

Peter N. Stearns

Provost at George Mason University

Peter N. Stearns has been Provost and Professor of History at George Mason University since 2000. While under Dr. Stearns' leadership, George Mason University was awarded the 2006 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education. Dr. Stearns has authored or edited over 100 books, covering modern social history, including the history of emotions, and in world history. His most recent book, Educating Global Citizens in Colleges and Universities: Challenges and Opportunities, published by Routledge, provides analysis of the full range of expressions in global education at a crucial time, when international competition rises, tensions with American foreign policy both complicate and motivate new activity, and a variety of innovations are taking shape. He has also edited encyclopedias of world and social history, and since 1967 has served as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Social History. Before coming to George Mason, Dr. Stearns taught at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Rutgers, and Carnegie Mellon.

Ben Wildavsky

Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation

Ben Wildavsky is a senior fellow in research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation and author of The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World, published by Princeton University Press. Mr. Wildavsky joined Kauffman after 18 years as a writer and editor where he specialized in education and public policy, including at U.S. News & World Report, National Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Public Interest. While at U.S. News & World Report, he was the senior editor of America's Best Colleges and America's Best Graduate Schools. Mr. Wildavsky has also served as a consultant to national education reformers – his "A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of Higher Education" was issued in September 2006 by the federal Commission on the Future of Higher Education. He is currently a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and also a contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education's WorldWise blog.

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