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See also Wikipedia's article about "Tenure".

Tenure is the holy grail of academia. Getting it is kind of a big deal. Like everything else at Columbia, it's often a source of controversy.

All higher education instructors can be divided into two groups: those who have tenure, and those who do not. The latter group can be divided in to two more groups, those who are on the tenure track, and those who are not. This last group makes up a large portion of PhD holders.

It is the source of much politicking, as since 1973, Columbia controls the tenuring process for Barnard College. Since 1983 Barnard has gotten some say in the process, but the final decision still gets made by the big bad university.

The only school exempt from the central ad hoc review process is the Law School, which has had autonomy over its faculty appointments since the 1970s deanship of Michael I. Sovern. Teachers College also does its own thing.

Tenure controversies have surrounded a number of professors, including Joseph Massad, Nadia Abu El-Haj, James Russell, and Mark Slouka.

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