Skip to main content

About Michael Dover

Michael A. Dover is a social worker, a sociologist, and a theorist of human needs and human injustice. He received an undergraduate degree in social work from Adelphi University, while working as a community organizer, group home worker, and school-based family worker. After earning his MSW at Columbia University in 1980, he worked as an advanced generalist practitioner in the employee assistance field in New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia. He earned his Ph.D. in Social Work and Sociology at the University of Michigan, before joining the faculty at Cleveland State University in 2007. As of May 15, 2021, he has retired status as an Associate College Lecturer in the School of Social Work at Cleveland State University.

In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students in theory, history and social welfare policy at the School of Social Work, his current project is a Zotero database on Addressing Human Needs Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic. This is a collaborative project. It is designed to facilitate interprofessional education, research and practice during this Covid-19 pandemic. It focuses on a core ethical commitment to prioritize the role of social work and allied health and mental health professions in meeting human needs during this pandemic, via advocacy, services and benefits to engage in primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of Covid-19 and related health conditions. A strong focus is on recognizing the social determinants for meeting basic human needs for health and mental health during this crisis.

He has directed a medical/psychiatric social work program covering 75,000 union members and their families in New York City. He directed and successfully sought state licensure for a substance abuse program in Philadelphia. He coordinated an alcoholism and retiree program in New Orleans. He is a licensed clinical and macro social worker in Michigan (LMSW-Clinical and Macro) and an LISW in Ohio.

Prof. Dover¿s needs-based partial theory of human injustice was published in 2019 in Humanity & Society. It contends that oppression, dehumanization, and exploitation can produce systematic inequality in access to satisfiers of human needs, producing wrongfully unmet needs and serious harm. The theory presents a conceptual continuum from human injustice to basic human need satisfaction to human liberation.

In 2016, he published, "The moment of microaggression: The experience of acts of oppression, dehumanization, and exploitation," in the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment. Peer-reviewed as making a major contribution to the empirical and theoretical literature on racial microaggressions, the article explains the emotions associated with the experience of microaggression and their roots in human injustice.

In 2009, he published "Rapport, Empathy, and Oppression: Cross-Cultural Vignettes," and in 2010, "Social Working for Social Justice," in Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping. He served as Editor of this journal from 2012-2017 and currently serves as publisher.  He co-convened the Bertha Reynolds Society (now Social Welfare Action Alliance) in 1985. He co-founded the Cuyahoga County Conference on Social Welfare in 2011.

He was first author of the first-ever entry on human needs in the Encyclopedia of Social work in 2008, and updated it in 2016.  He is also a twice-published author of Oxford Bibliographies Online entries on human need.

His historical sociological dissertation at the University of Michigan (2003) was based on four years of research in Toledo and at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus: "The Social System of Real Property Ownership: Public and Nonprofit Property Tax Exemptions and Corporate Tax Abatements in City and Suburb, 1955-2000." He hopes to complete a book based on his dissertation and on updated data that show the proportion of exempt property in Ohio's urban counties has increased by 6.1% to 20.6%, from 2000-2018.

He is an Ohio native, born in Alliance and partially raised in Maple Heights. His current research involved completing a two-part article on theorizing needs-based professional helping and advanced generalist social work practice, and he application of his needs-based work on human injustice to action research on Ending Institutional Racism in Higher Education. I can still be reached at


Present Associate College Lecturer, Cleveland State University Criminology, Anthropology, & Sociology

Enter a valid date range.

Enter a valid date range.

Recent Works (1)

Articles (12)

Other (2)