I am looking for answers from the perspective of U.S. institutions. At some institutions (e.g., mine), a faculty member is allowed to switch tracks at the institution once in their career at that institution. For example, a person who was hired as a non-tenure track research assistant professor can petition or apply to be a tenure-track assistant professor. The process is a bit vague, but it happened to someone at my institution recently, which got me thinking about the question.
The person--let's call him Dr. X--started out as a research assistant professor in Department Y on Well-Funded Project Z. Due to administrative...restructuring, which dissolved Department Y, all of the professors in Department Y had to choose a new department in the School, and all of the professors working on Well-Funded Project Z ended up moving to Department A.
I am curious whether this is a common occurrence. I was casually talking to another, more senior professor (who also involved in Well-Funded Project Z), when it was revealed to me that our institution allows professors to change tracks once in their career. I was wondering if others had seen something similar at their institutions, and related to that, is it ever a good idea to ask when interviewing for a non-tenure-track position whether there is a possibility of switching to a tenure-track position down the road or what the institution's policy is surrounding switching tracks?