Shea Browning appointed as WCU’s top legal adviser

Shea Browning

Shea Browning

Shea Browning, associate general counsel at Western Carolina University since September 2010, has been appointed to serve as the university’s top legal adviser, effective March 1.

Browning succeeds Mary Ann Lochner, who has served as the university general counsel since August 2010 and who is retiring at the end of February. He was selected for the position following a national search chaired by Melissa Wargo, WCU’s chief of staff.

The executive committee of the WCU Board of Trustees unanimously approved his appointment Tuesday, Jan 24, during a conference call meeting.

“Shea Browning has extensive experience in higher education law, a heavily regulated environment that has a multitude of unique and complex challenges,” WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher said in announcing the appointment. “In his role as this university’s associate general counsel, he has proven himself to be a skillful negotiator, litigator and adviser, tackling a variety of complex contracts, agreements and cases. I am confident that Shea will transition seamlessly and successfully into his new role as general counsel.”

Prior to his arrival at WCU, Browning worked at West Virginia University from 2001 until 2010, beginning in its trademark licensing office managing intellectual property associated with WVU. In 2005, he joined that university’s Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs as assistant general counsel before being promoted to associate general counsel in 2008.

In his role as associate general counsel at WCU, Browning has been responsible for legal matters related to intellectual property; patents; technology transfer; sponsored research; information technology; export controls; immigration and international programs; contracts and procurement; emergency preparedness; student affairs and disciplinary action; athletics, coaches contracts and NCAA regulations; discrimination, harassment and civil rights; the library; and the federal Office of Civil Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the state Department of Administrative Hearings.

In January 2015, he assumed additional responsibilities as WCU’s Title IX coordinator, becoming the university’s go-to person for faculty and staff who suspect gender-based discrimination.

“I am delighted for the opportunity to use my experience and continue to serve Western Carolina University as it enters into more creative partnerships, further expands the way it does business and continues to advance as an economic driver for the region,” he said.

“Working with my immediate team as well as the executive team always has been a positive experience, even when tough conversations are on the agenda. I look forward to helping the university meet challenges ahead,” Browning said.