David Bunn Chosen to Direct Environmental Policy and Management Program at UC Davis

David Bunn is the new director of the Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management program at UC Davis. Previously, Bunn served as director of the California Department of Conservation. (Hector Amezcua, UC Davis)
David Bunn is the new director of the Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management program at UC Davis. Previously, Bunn served as director of the California Department of Conservation. (Hector Amezcua, UC Davis)

David Bunn has been selected to serve as director of the Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management (EPM) program at UC Davis, a unique professional degree developed by the John Muir Institute of the Environment and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to train the next generation of environmental professionals.

As director of the EPM program, Bunn will lead a team of key contributors including the Muir Institute, faculty from across campus, and institutional partners in Sacramento and beyond.

Associate Professor Michael Springborn, the outgoing EPM faculty chair, and Professor Mark Lubell, the incoming chair, are faculty in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and were on the search committee. They were excited by Bunn’s unique mix of academic, public agency and private sector experience.

“We were looking for a needle-in-a-haystack skillset and are thrilled to have found such a great match in David,” said Springborn.

Since 2015, Bunn served as director of the California Department of Conservation, managing a staff of over 600 scientists and professionals to promote the judicious use and conservation of energy, land and mineral resources. Previously, he served as deputy director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and as a natural resources policy consultant for the California State Senate and Assembly.

Bunn also served in previous positions at UC Davis, including associate director of the International Programs Office (now Global Engagement) in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. In addition, as an international project manager at the One Health Institute in the School of Veterinary Medicine, he coordinated research, training and capacity-building activities in East and West Africa and in Nepal over a nine-year period.

Bunn holds two graduate degrees from UC Davis: an M.S. in international agricultural development, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Group in Ecology. He also holds a B.S. in wildlife biology from UC Davis.

Training the Next Generation of Environmental Professionals

“Bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and policy is critical to addressing the urgent environmental problems facing the planet,” said Ben Houlton, a professor in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources and the director of the Muir Institute. “David is uniquely qualified to not only grow the EPM program, but to empower our graduates to have impact from the local to the international level.”

The EPM program, housed in the Muir Institute, was developed in 2016 by science and policy faculty from multiple departments who saw a need for an academically rigorous training program for students interested in top-level, practice-oriented careers in environmental policy and management.

The first cohort of EPM master’s students arrived on campus in fall 2017. The two-year program has since grown to more than 25 students. Thirteen students have graduated and taken positions like air pollution specialist at the California Energy Commission, water resources control engineer at the Delta Water Master and policy analyst for Ecoconsult.

Participants receive advanced training applying environmental science to real-world environmental policy and management issues in areas such as climate change, species conservation, and water management. Graduates of the program leave with the skills necessary to integrate technical and scientific expertise in social, political, and natural contexts to provide effective environmental policy and management solutions.

Bunn will begin as director of EPM on December 7, 2019.

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