Shannon Looney serves as a Deputy Director in the Office of Urban Initiatives. In this capacity, she works alongside the Executive Director to support the work of the Coalition for Urban Serving Universities (USU), which engages urban-serving member institutions around three target areas: 1) improving urban health and reducing health disparities; 2) fostering student achievement and improving human capital; and 3) strengthening urban neighborhoods and communities. Looney is primarily responsible for directing both the Frontier Set and the Collaborative Opportunity Grant (COG) initiatives that are housed in USU. Both efforts focus on supporting a core and collaborative network of urban universities undergoing large-scale, transformational institutional change to accelerate the production of credentials of value, especially for low-income, first-generation students.
Looney previously served as the Assistant Director for Outreach and Research Development with American University’s School of International Service, in which she led the external outreach and marketing of faculty research and drafted proposals for external funding on behalf of the school. Prior to AU, she worked with the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) where she led some of the Institute’s major grant-funded initiatives, such as financial literacy and retention efforts at Minority Serving Institutions and the Walmart Minority Student Success Initiative—a project that provided institutional-capacity building grants to facilitate the development and implementation of faculty-led programs to help first-generation students achieve academic success