Lee M. Smith

Contact Lee M. Smith

Lee Smith

Lee is a higher education consulting leader and former administrator who helps colleges and universities develop strategies to transform their operational and financial performance.

About Lee

Lee has spent over 16 years as a higher education administrator and consultant, working with institutions nationwide to champion transformation and successfully implement strategic, innovative initiatives. He specializes in guiding college and university leaders through efforts to evolve their organizations and strengthen their financial health, from operational assessments and process reengineering to fiscal analysis and technology implementations. He also regularly serves as an expert in higher education change management and leadership.

At Huron, Lee oversees engagements to help public and private institutions — including academic medical centers and research institutions — improve their margins and serve students, faculty and staff more effectively. He has led a diverse portfolio of initiatives spanning service delivery, performance improvement, compensation plan assessment and development, financial analysis, budget model design, space management and pandemic response.

Prior to joining Huron, Lee spent over 14 years in senior operations roles at the University of Louisville, The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Emory University. He has served as an interim vice president for operations/chief operating officer, with responsibility for performance improvement, business analytics, information technology, facilities management, capital construction, shared services, public safety and auxiliary operations. Lee has also provided leadership in student success, strategic planning, accreditation, institutional research, predictive analytics, student service operations and project management.

Lee frequently speaks at higher education industry events on the topics of organizational transformation, process improvement, shared services and change management.

Areas of Expertise

  • Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Business Planning
  • Change Management and Leadership
  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Unit Strategy
  • Academic Affairs


  • Education

Education & Certifications

  • Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania (In Process)
  • M.Div., Yale University
  • B.M., Furman University
  • B.A., Furman University


  • Workforce Management in the Time of COVID-19

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    As colleges and universities continue to assess the financial and operational impacts of COVID-19, they are evaluating options for managing their workforce.

  • Enterprise Risk Management

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    Effective enterprise risk management involves the comprehensive evaluation of interconnected risks across an institution.

  • Workforce Management in the time of COVID-19

    Read More

    As colleges and universities continue to assess the financial and operational impacts of COVID-19, they are evaluating options for managing their workforce.

  • From Pandemic to Transformation: Higher Education Leadership

    Read More

    Throughout the ongoing global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. colleges and universities have been confronting unprecedented change.

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