UC Davis Planning and Sustainability instructor Greta Brownlow

Instructor Spotlight: Greta Brownlow

Greta Brownlow, Ph.D., is an Environmental Planning Director at WRA. She has 20 years of experience as a planner and project manager preparing CEQA and NEPA documents, for local government agencies, private developers, school districts, universities, transit agencies and utility providers. Her recent project management experience includes infill development projects, including residential, mixed-use, and institutional uses in the cities of Oakland, San Francisco and Mountain View. Ms. Brownlow earned her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, with a focus on community engagement in the planning of new schools in Los Angeles.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I enjoy meeting people who work for different organizations and entities, and who bring varied perspectives on land use and environmental issues. It’s always a fun challenge to try and address the very specific, yet broadly applicable questions students bring to class. I also love that teaching forces me to dig deeper and expand my own knowledge. Teaching always helps me understand the topic on a deeper level. 

How would a student describe your teaching style?

I try to be as interactive as possible by soliciting feedback from students and incorporating relevant examples. I also strive to bring a little levity to the learning process.

Describe a moment where, as a teacher, you feel like you had an impact on a student’s life. What was the situation? What happened? How did you know you know you had an impact? How did it make you feel?

I don’t know that I can think of one specific moment, but in general, it’s the moment of clarity (the “ah ha” moment) when something that was previously confusing or mysterious clicks for someone. That makes me feel like I’m doing my job, and is hopefully making someone else’s job easier.

In your opinion, what separates the UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Resiliency program from other programs?

Our courses attract students from a wide variety of roles in government, consulting, law, and so on, and every one of them brings such great perspectives to the discussion. I feel like I always learn as much as I hope they do. While we can all seek and absorb information on our own, there’s something about coming together with others from different backgrounds or fields, but with relatable knowledge and perspectives, that makes for a richer learning environment.

Explore our Land Use and Natural Resources classes.

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