Michael Ternes

Michael Ternes
Assistant Professor
Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences

Contact Info
Cherry Hall 306


Michael S. Ternes is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Counseling and Psychology. He earned his M.S. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Kansas believing he would become a couples and family therapist and instead discovering a passion for teaching and research. He was accepted to and earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas where he was mentored by Karen D. Multon, Thomas S. Krieshok, and Brian P. Cole. He completed his pre-doctoral internship at the Colmery O’Neil VA Medical Center, a campus of the Eastern Kansas Health Care System, where he completed clinical rotations in evidence-based practices for couples and out-patient trauma, residential trauma treatment, primary care mental health integration, and neuropsychological assessment. After graduation, he served for three years as an Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at Louisiana Tech University before joining the faculty at UMKC in the Fall of 2022.


Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, The University of Kansas
M.S., Counseling Psychology, The University of Kansas
B.A., Psychology, Kansas State University
B.A., Music, Kansas State University


Dr. Ternes’s research interests are focused on an individual’s decision to pursue the goals they have defined for themselves, as well as characteristics that might help to facilitate the pursuit of those goals and well-being. His work considers this examination across three primary domains: education, career, and health behaviors. He is particularly interested in positive psychological constructs, such as hope and the utility it could offer in supporting and individual’s commitment to their goals and the navigation of challenges encountered in the process.


Dr. Ternes believes that an effective advising relationship requires him to be a genuine and open contributor to the process. As such, he approaches advising through a collaborative lens, informed by established developmental frameworks, to partner with his advisees in their professional development and goal pursuits. He also believes in an authentic, human connection between himself and his advisees, valuing opportunities to learn about and connect with their personal and professional interests. By establishing genuine and supportive partnerships, he is better able to encourage his advisees in utilizing their personal strengths as they journey through their time at UMKC and beyond.