A Brief History

The Systems Testing Excellence Program (STEP) was founded in 2006 by Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal as a response to the demand for professionalizing the systems testing groups supporting software-intensive systems development in corporations worldwide. Dr. Dhaliwal founded STEP in partnership with FedEx Corporation in his core research discipline – software testing, for which he received the university's Eye of the Tiger Award and its Research Millionaire Award. STEP is a unique partnership of software testing faculty who work closely with the Global Testing Center of Excellence of FedEx Corporation (serving as its key research and training partner). STEP now represents the largest international academic research group in this field and, besides FedEx, has research relationships with the likes of the Joint Interoperability Test Command of the US Department of Defense, US Department of Homeland Security, Lockheed Martin, IBM and Nomura Japan.

Building on its many industry relationships, STEP has supported 32 faculty members in advancing their research across 7 different universities worldwide. This has led to publications in major scholarly journals, such as Information Systems Research, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Journal of Organizational Computing & Electronic Commerce, Knowledge Acquisition, Information & Management as well as in the proceedings of numerous international research conferences. In addition, STEP runs its own annual conference, the International Research Workshop on Advances and Innovations in Software Testing, which has included participation by prominent testing experts from academia and industry from around the US and other countries.

STEP utilizes research outcomes in infusing best practices in software testing training projects and in classroom discussions at the University of Memphis. STEP also brings together hundreds of like-minded academics and professionals in unique forums dedicated to the subject of systems testing. STEP engages in interdisciplinary research, training, knowledge sharing, and publishing articles on thought leadership in the systems testing field.

STEP has operated successfully with annual funded research and training programs focused on advancing the foundations and science of systems testing. A committed group of STEP researchers remain committed to the goal of creating a science of testing that defines the fundamental principles of software testing. STEP is a major interdisciplinary collaborative research effort at the University of Memphis that is helping to position the university as the national leader in systems testing research.

The current Director of STEP is Dr. Robin Poston and the Associate Director is Dr. Mark Gillenson, both of whom have been participative team members since STEP's founding.