NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Henry Meyer (1913 - 2000)
Henry Meyer, who taught at the University of Michigan (U-M) in 1957-78, is perhaps best known nationally for his 1965 landmark study “Girls at Vocational High: An Experiment in Social Work Intervention.” This research analyzed the effects of social work services on the lives of girls at inner-city high schools.
Another important work, “School, Family and Neighborhood: Theory and Practice of School-Community Relations,” investigated links between families and school systems.
The author and editor of more than a dozen books and monographs and some 50 articles, Meyer’s teaching and research covered such broad interests as sociological and social psychology theory, labor disputes, evaluations of mental health and family service programs, community organization, population policy and professionalization of social work.
At the U-M, Meyer developed and headed the interdisciplinary doctoral program in social work and social science, the first program of its kind in the nation. After stepping down as head of the program in 1970, he directed an interdisciplinary training program in family and population planning for students from developing nations.
Prior to coming to Michigan, Meyer taught at what is now Washington State University (1939–42) and at New York University (1946–57). During World War II, he worked for the National War Labor Board as vice chair of the National Telephone Commission and as chair of the Wage Stabilization Board.
Through the years, Meyer was involved in training social workers from Asia, was a consultant to the University of Singapore and to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and served as an adviser to the Council on Social Work Education; the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; and to many social service agencies.
In 1974, he was the first social work educator to receive the U-M Distinguished Faculty Service Award, and in 1998, the U-M established the Henry J. Meyer Collegiate Professorship.