This paper discuses the articles in this special issue of Asia Pacific Education Review. The nine articles collected here were mainly selected from articles given in 2011 at a conference of the "Ideas and Universities" project of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), while some of them were presented at other international conferences/symposium with related theme of internationalization and transnational higher education. Guided by three overarching themes—commercialization and internationalization, governance and leadership, and the cultural politics of universities, scholarship, and nationalism—these articles reveal the difficult choices as well as the high stakes involved in higher-education reforms, past and present. The degree to which the various reforms associated with "globalization" are institutionally (and intellectually) convergent or divergent hinges largely on the governance structures those shape them. Determining the roles that academics and administrators play in university governance will have a significant effect on the direction future reforms take. Given current trends, it appears that increasingly centralized management, justified on the grounds of efficiency and cost-savings in an ever-more-competitive global knowledge economy, will put increasing pressure on academics to produce research while placing administrators and their staffs in control of budgetary decision-making. The evidence for this trend is overwhelming, but its long-term consequences remain unknown. These nine essays help us see into the future, as if through a glass darkly.
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