Student Spotlight: John Funderburg

headshot of LUNR certificate student John Funderburg

As a principal planner with the San Joaquin County Community Development Department, John Funderburg enjoys the challenge of managing large-scale development projects. Having taken a number of environmental resources classes at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, he recently decided to further expand his skill set and pursue the Land Use and Environmental Planning Certificate Program.

A Lasting Impression

Like many students, Funderburg took a couple courses before deciding to commit to the full certificate program. The knowledge and commitment of the instructors impressed him enough that he knew this was the right program for him. 

“The instructors are first class,” he said. “They always seemed to connect with students on a personal level, and that meant a lot to me.” Even in his remote courses, Funderburg said he was still able to make one-on-one connections with the instructors both in and outside of the virtual classroom.

He also appreciated the instructors’ understanding of specific land-use problems facing California communities. “They were able to discuss and identify solutions to a lot of the challenges land use and environmental planners face every day,” he said. 

Learning New Skills and Making Connections

Funderburg explained that there’s a lot to learn in class that you can use out in the field and apply to your everyday tasks as an environmental planner. Having nearly completed the certificate program, he said he’s learning new methods, guidelines and negotiation procedures for preparing development agreements. “The program provided me with new tools for processing discretionary permits for compliance with CEQA, Subdivision Map Act, California Water Act, Federal Endangered Species Act and NEPA.”

Another benefit of the program that Funderburg identified is the ability to network with peers. “The program has helped me expand my knowledge in the field of urban and regional environmental planning and provided me the opportunity to coordinate and collaborate with working professionals in different departments of government and on planning projects.” He said that being able to connect with peers has enhanced his learning. 

According to Funderburg, UC Davis CPE’s Land Use and Environmental Planning Certificate Program is “number one” for professionals who are actively working in the field of land use and planning. “The program provided me with information and processes that helped me administer policies and evaluate alternatives, especially as it relates to community development and planning,” he said. “I developed a mindset that helps me in my everyday activities.” 

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