University tenure track policies can focus on any number of aspects, five of which are highlighted below:
Academic independence and visibility
Academics on a tenure track do independent research under favourable circumstances and as such are not assistants to other researchers. This means that the tenure track researcher has a visible position in the organisation and in the research to which they contribute.
Clear career prospects
A tenure track leads to a permanent position (tenure) either as an assistant professor or an associate professor, with the possibility of promotion to a professorial post. A tenure track does not necessarily culminate in tenure. Effective monitoring throughout the track is crucial to ensure that candidates know what to expect and are supported on their way to the next career step. If a tenure candidate does not perform to the standard required for appointment to a permanent academic post, they will be assisted in searching for a suitable position outside academia.
Tenure candidates receive development support. Such support can include the offer of various courses, mentoring, guidance and so forth.
Mentoring, feedback and evaluation
To develop their full potential, tenure candidates need continuing insight into their stage of development. Clear criteria, interim feedback and regular evaluations can provide this insight.
Workforce diversity strengthens organisational performance. Current measures are intended to contribute to boosting the number of women on tenure tracks, resulting in more women being promoted to higher academic posts. One such measure is to ensure that tenure committees include at least a minimum of female members.