Christine M. Smith

Christine M. Smith

Managing Director

+1 (608) 240 2391

Leave a messagearrowCreated with Sketch.

Christine Smith is a managing director in Baker Tilly’s higher education practice. She has advised higher education clients for over 25 years on transformative change and strategy. University systems, public and private institutions, community colleges and university extensions have all benefited from Christine’s insights and collaboration to enhance student success and institutions’ fiscal resiliency by standing up shared services operations, developing differentiated strategy and execution plans, leading process/workflow and role alignment improvements and engaging in industry education around transformative practices.

She was an integral part of the recent merger within the Pennsylvania State System and has advised Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and University of Texas System institutions on operational cost effectiveness. Christine has advised institutions on potential partnerships and collaborations across entities and sectors.

Christine’s accomplishments include leading partnerships with industry associations to create meaningful tools and roadmaps in support of higher-education leaders to ensure institution sustainability, fiscal health and student success via close reimagination of resource allocation and strategic focus.

  • Clients include Oregon State University, University of Texas at Arlington, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, University of Wisconsin System, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-San Francisco, the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Georgetown University and Loyola University Chicago.
  • Directed transformative projects relative to strategic budgeting and finance and process redesign for public and private higher education institutions and publicly funded entities including Kenosha, Madison and Milwaukee Metropolitan school districts and multiple, large public agencies including Will and Lake County, Cities of Madison, Chicago and Saint Paul and LOGIS, an IT consortium of Minneapolis area municipalities.
  • Key contact for the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 helping clients to leverage tax credit eligibility to maximize value and ensure compliance.
  • Association of Governing Board (AGB)
  • National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and its regional partners (CACUBO, EACUBO)
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Foundation, risk management chair and executive committee vice chair member 2015 – present
  • 1517 Media, 2016 – present
  • “How to drive a sustainable journey that honors realities and respects stakeholders”, National Association of College and University Business Officers annual conference, speaker (2023)
  • NACUBO/Baker Tilly Institution Sustainability project, leadership team (2023)
  • AGB Business Models for Vitality project, key content contributor (2022)
  • “Board Diligence for Top Strategic Risks”, Association of Governing Board (AGB) National Council of Trustees Conference, facilitator (2023)
  • “The Board Professionals Role in Institutional Sustainability,” Association of Governance Board Professionals Conference, presenter (2023)
  • Baker Tilly Fiscal Resiliency Podcast series, moderator and contributor (2021-2023)
  • “Higher Education Must Change To Thrive: The Case Of Consolidation In The Pennsylvania State System,” Forbes, contributor (2021)
  • “Collaborative Combinations to Support Student Success and Institutional Sustainability: Lessons for Boards from PASSHE’s Path Toward Integration,” AGB NCT annual conference, moderator (2021)
  • “Eyes Wide Open: How Boards Can Use Enterprise Risk Management to Focus on What Matters Most,” AGB Board Professionals conference, co-presenter (2021)
  • “Writing Your Story of Fiscal Resiliency in Times of Disruption,” EACUBO Workshop, co-presenter (2021)
  • “Fiscal resiliency: meeting the challenge, achieving the possible,” AGB webinar, co-presenter (2020)
  • “Risk Committee or Not: Why a foundation should have a risk oversight function,” AGB Foundation Forum, co-presenter (2020)
  • “Shared Services – Bold Steps for Success”, CACUBO Annual Meeting, co-presenter (2019)
  • “Shared Services – Better Together: Lessons Learned from Shared Services Implementation,” NACUBO Annual Meeting, co-presenter (2019)
  • “Minding the Metrics – What Role Does the Business Office Play to Ensure Realities are Understood and Critical Decisions are Made,” EACUBO Annual Meeting, presenter (2018)
  • “Finding Your “Sweet Spot” of Financial Sustainability,” CACUBO, presenter (2017)
  • “Transforming your institutions for long-term sustainability and strategic growth,” with King’s College, presenter (2017)


Madison, WI


Bachelor of Business Administration-magna cum laude

University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

Christine's latest insights