Wednesday, January 9, 2013

SNRAS and CES hire new executive officer

Michelle Pope will join the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences and UAF Cooperative Extension Service as executive officer, beginning Jan. 28.

Pope is currently the director of the payroll and benefit accounting department for the University of Alaska. She was born in California and grew up in a military family, spending her early years in the Boston area before the family settled in Georgia. She has a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Mercer University and an MBA from UAF. She has worked for the statewide office since 2003.

Prior to coming to Alaska, Pope was director of finance for an allergy clinic in Alabama. She and her husband of 22 years, Jeff, have two sons.

Pope said she has been seeking a position with UAF so that she could have more impact on the main purposes of the university--education and research. “I want to feel like I am contributing and be closer to the action,” she said.

Her goals for the SNRAS/CES business office are first to get up to speed and meet the basic needs of faculty and staff. “My future goal is to make the business office customer friendly and work hand in hand with the units to do what they need to do. I want to be proactive and have the business office help everyone in the unit. Another goal is to increase our funding sources.”

Pope described her management style as giving her staff the resources they need to do their jobs. “My role is to help them do their jobs to the best of their abilities,” she said. “I will be looking for opportunities to better the process, to make it easier and more effective. I look at the big picture and see how things can be improved and I will be soliciting ideas from the staff.”

In her role at the statewide office, Pope has learned to deal with issues in a variety of environments around the state. “I’m good at bringing the different needs together to accomplish something,” she said. “I have the perspective of seeing different sides of an issue and finding innovative solutions to problems. I don’t have the constraints that something has to be done a certain way.”

In her spare time, Pope volunteers with the Midnight Sun Council of the Boy Scouts where she trains leaders and she also does a lot of work for the Lathrop High School ballroom dance team. She enjoys reading, traveling to new places and making crafts.

“I’m excited about the new position,” she said.

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