Dr. Munsch came to Cal State Northridge in Fall 2002 to become the founding chair of the new Department of Child and Adolescent Development. Dr. Munsch previously was a faculty member Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University. While she was at Texas Tech, she served as Associate Dean for Research and co-directed the Texas Tech Early Head Start program, an early intervention program from infants from birth to age 3. She also administered three ongoing Community Youth Development grants that provided services to children and families in an economically-disadvantaged neighborhood in Lubbock, TX.
Dr. Munsch administered the Jumpstart for Young Children Program at Cal State Northridge for eleven years before her retirement. Jumpstart hires college students who are eligible for work study and trains them to work in preschools that serve economically-disadvantaged children. The goal of Jumpstart is to get every child ready to succeed in school, and it works toward this goal through focusing on early literacy and school readiness skills. Jumpstart Northridge enrolls 40 students annually in this program. In 2005, Dr. Munsch received the CSUN Visionary Community Service Learning Award in recognition of her "outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the betterment of students and the community through service learning."
Dr. Munsch's research focuses on adolescent social networks and how adolescents cope with stress in their lives, particularly the stress associated with school transitions. She also conducts research that examines adolescents' relationships with naturally-occurring mentors. Dr. Munsch has received over $3.6 million in externally-funded grants during her career. She has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Early Adolescence and as a reviewer for the Journal of Adolescent Research, the Journal of Marriage and the Family, the Journal of Research on Adolescence, and the Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal. She has 19 publications in peer-reviewed journals and dozens of presentations at both national and international meetings.
Dr. Munsch has been a member of the American Psychology Association, the Society for Research on Child Development, the Society for Research on Adolescence, the National Council on Family Relations, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development. In the Los Angeles community, Dr. Munsch has been the secretary of the Board of Trustees at James Jordan Middle School, and is a member of the Los Angeles County Early Childhood Education Workforce Initiative. She also is one of three reviewers for the CSU system who review courses for the California Community College Transfer Model Curriculum.
Dr. Munsch is the co-author with Laura E. Levine of a topical textbook, Child Development: An Active Learning Approach (2nd Ed.), published by SAGE Publications. A new chronological text, Child Development From Infancy to Adolescence: An Active Learning Approach (1st Ed.), will be published in January 2015 by SAGE.
Aguayo, J., & Munsch. J. (2009). Program theory: A framework for collaborative measurement of service learning. In Realities, Reflections and Refinements in K-12 Service Learning Partnerships, F. Lazarus, J. St. Clair, J. Minier, & D. Keiser (Eds.) New York, NY: Anker Publishing.
Fischer, J. L., Pidcock, B. W., Munsch, J., & Forthun, L. (2005). Parental abusive drinking and sibling role differences. Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, 23(1), 79-97.