When Katie Johnson took a position as a university staff psychologist five years ago, job security meant little more than an annually renewable employment contract.

That began to change earlier this year, when fellow staffers, college leaders, and union officials where she works — California State University-Dominguez Hills, located in Los Angeles County — reconsidered the role that psychologists play on campus. To encourage them to stay longer and to improve the way staffers are treated, the university gave her and others a shot at something contingent faculty members rarely experience: a tenure-track position.