University of Maryland confirms Kundra's credentials

Widely distributed blog post questions the federal CIO’s bio

Challenging claims in a highly discussed blog post, University of Maryland officials told Federal Computer Week today that federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the university system.

Kundra earned an undergraduate degree in behavioral and social sciences in 1998, according to a University of Maryland at College Park spokeswoman. University of Maryland University College spokesman Chip Cassano confirmed that Kundra earned a Masters of Science in Information Systems Management in 2001.

Kundra also taught an undergraduate class at UMUC, Cassano said.

The blog post by John C. Dvorak accuses Kundra of inflating his resume, claiming to hold degrees he doesn't have and to have had jobs he didn't hold. The post, “Special Report: Is US Chief Information Officer (CIO) Vivek Kundra a Phony?” appeared on the Dvorak Uncensored Web site. Dvorak is also a contributing editor of PC Magazine.

In the blog post, Dvorak said he was unable to confirm that Kundra received a Master of Science degree in information technology from the University of Maryland's College Park campus. Kundra received the degree from University of Maryland University College, which is a separate institution under the University System of Maryland, university officials confirmed. Dvorak apparently later amended his original post to acknowledge that.

Obama administration officials at first did not respond to a request for comment on Dvorak’s charges, but they did provide links to two blog posts that challenge Dvorak’s assertions. In one of the posts, on Gigaom, an unnamed White House official called Dvorak’s article “a gross smear” and “highly inaccurate.” Gigaom's Om Malik said Kundra himself "called back and said that it was clear that 'someone was spinning partial truths.' ”

Office of Management and Budget communications director Kenneth Baer later acknowledged to FCW that he was the source of the first Gigaom quotes. “These are the worst type of lies and distortions about a public figure, and they rightfully have been debunked," he told FCW.

Kundra, who served as chief technology officer in the Washington D.C., government before his presidential appointment, is a strong advocate for emerging technologies such as cloud computing and Web 2.0 tools. He has also pushed for the White House to use technology as a tool for achieving open government goals.

In March, just after his appointment as federal CIO, Kundra took a brief leave of absence following the FBI's arrest of an employee in Kundra's former Washington, D.C., city government office, and a contractor. Kundra was never a suspect in that investigation, and the FBI officially cleared him of any involvement in the case. 

Dvorak, a self-avowed provocateur in the blogosphere, has been with PC Magazine since 1986, according to his own official bio.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

Reader Comments

Sun, Jan 10, 2010 SMD

mikeinmd81 , Can you please qualify how UMCP courses are "1000 times harder" and that UMUC courses are "bogus", as they are developed by the same university system? I think the main difference is the mission of the two schools- serving mostly traditional students (UMCP) vs mostly professional students (UMUC)- rather than educational qualify. UMUC courses are designed for analysis and application of course knowledge and real world subject matter experience, rather than UMCP's mission of teaching knowledge that is not present with their students. Furthermore, many students from UMCP, and other top undergrad/grad schools, teach and attend UMUC, which conduct considerable courses on the UMCP campus, as well as the adjacent UMUC campus. While UMCP is a quality school, it isn't even considered in the same league as TOP 10 or Ivy League schools. Most important, according to businessweek, forbes, and other reputable organizations, UMCP and UMUC undergrade/graduate degree holders aalaries do not differ. This is primarily due to the fact many UMUC students, especially graduate students, have top undergrad degrees and are already established and experienced in the work force; including mid-management and executive positions. UMCP undergrad/grad students on average aren't accomplished and established in the real world. Thus, the real world resumes and accomplishments of UMUC students are 1000 times better than the bogus (mostly non-existant) resumes of UMCP students :)

Sun, Nov 15, 2009 mikeinmd81 college park

Yes, there is a difference between the tech programs at UMCP and UMUC. UMCP's compsci program is 1000 times harder than the bogus courses UMUC offer. If you've never taken a course under UMCP, be quiet.

Fri, Aug 14, 2009 Marylander MD

The Maryland Annotated Code, Title 12 of the Education Article, 12-101(b)7 informs us that the definition of "University of Maryland" implies all those colleges and universities in the University System of Maryland including UMD-College Park and UMUC. Also, for those outside the DC metro area, you should be aware that UMUC is located on the College Park campus in College Park, MD. Second, you should be aware that there is virtually no difference in the content or quality of the degree programs between the two universities...especially in their technology degrees. The difference is a matter of perception based upon artificially selective admissions procedures. Thank you.

Fri, Aug 14, 2009 PDM

Where is the mioderator? Puregoldj - Please stay on topic. I, for one, think it is unfortunate that we would allow a valuable forum like to to stray so far off topic.

Fri, Aug 14, 2009 Puregoldj Washington, DC

But was he really born in the US, or is he some sort of alien from some far out foreign country like Hawaii??!! And is he going to set up IT death panels??!! And kill off your grandmother's computer??!! Is he some sort of socialist fascist nazi communist who is going to do calamitous things like try to reform government computing??!! More evil plots to (fill in Sarah Palin's latest delusion)??!!

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