Dr. Baunach serves as the Interim Associate Dean for Faculty/Student Development and Strategic Initiatives in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) at Kennesaw State University. Since starting the position in September 2020, she has created the CHSS Diversity Series (chss.kennesaw.edu/diversity) to bring cutting-edge research, events, and opportunities on diversity, equity, and inclusion to faculty and students. Her future plans include developing mentorship and leadership academies for faculty from underrepresented groups. She is also responsible for pursuing the Dean's vision for the Passport to Success program and the new Makerspace.
Dr. Baunach moved to Kennesaw State University in 2016 as Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Leading a dynamic department of over 30 full-time and nearly 20 part-time accomplished and dedicated faculty, Dr. Baunach is committed to honesty, fairness, transparency, positivity, and inclusivity as the cornerstones of her departmental leadership values. During the four years of her chairship, Dr. Baunach advanced the department by increasing the numbers of major/minor/graduate students, hiring strong junior faculty members, and overseeing a burgeoning externally funded research portfolio. Dr. Baunach’s collaborations across the university resulted in the department’s central involvement in multiple transdisciplinary curricula and programs, including B.S. in Integrated Health Services, B.S. in Cybersecurity, M.S. in Integrative Biology, and M.S. in Cybersecurity.
Prior to 2016, Dr. Baunach spent 20 years in the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University. She is especially proud of her leadership of the Sociology Doctoral Program from 2004 until 2012. Her major accomplishments as the Director of Graduate Studies included tripling the number of graduate applicants, improving the quality of applicants and incoming students, increasing graduate enrollments, doubling funding levels for students, standardizing the educational experience through the creation of a cohort model, increasing timely degree progress, inspiring a more professional graduate student culture, and better post-graduation placements. Prior to leaving Georgia State, Dr. Baunach served as the Interim Chair during the 2014-2015 academic year, during which she created an alumni advisory board and scholar affiliate program.
In her academic research, Dr. Baunach approaches the study of society from a structural standpoint, frequently in a macro context, and uses various quantitative techniques in her research. Dr. Baunach’s research has examined gender-based labor market inequalities, including wage differentials, labor force participation, occupational segregation and inequality, affirmative action, and sexual harassment. Other research projects have examined death and illness as an arena of discrimination and inequality. Her most recent research focuses on sexualities-based inequalities, including sexual prejudices and "homophobia," sexual disclosure, sexual identification, HIV/AIDS prejudices, bullying, and attitudes toward same-sex marriage. Dr. Baunach is one of the co-editors of “Sex Matters: The Sex and Society Reader” with Mindy Stombler, Elisabeth Burgess, Wendy Simonds, and Elroi Windsor. The most widely cited and adopted reader for courses on "sexualities and society," the fifth edition of "Sex Matters" was published in 2019 by W.W. Norton.
Dr. Baunach was elected to chair the Sexualities section of the American Sociological Association (2017-2018) and the Sexual Behavior, Politics, and Communities division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (2014-2016 and 2020-2022). She serves as an Editorial Board member for Sexes and Social Sciences, Open Access sociology journals. She was also an Academic Advisory Board Member for the LGTB Public Opinion Project of the Williams Institute at UCLA's School of Law.