The groundwork for the formation of the CSE extends to 1983, when a $8,759 National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) grant, authored by Humanities Instructor Elaine E. Englehardt, enabled faculty to discuss, for two years, with visiting scholars, the attributes of an “educated person.” This project was furthered by a 3-year grant from another NEH grant for $113,500 in 1987 to develop and implement a core humanities course for the General Education curriculum based on the EAC model, “Ethics and Values” (PHIL 2050). The funds were used for faculty development, library acquisition, community lecture series and scholarly development. This course has been applauded by scholars throughout the county as a model for interdisciplinary ethics education. In 1990, UVU received another $300,000 NEH grant to foster an interdisciplinary Ethics discussion of the History of Science and Civilization through the CSE. And beginning in 1990, the Advancing the Humanities Program by the NEH allowed Englehardt to tutor colleagues at 3 community colleges for 3 years on establishing high quality Humanities education.

In 1992, Utah’s first and only academic ethics center in the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) was formed by President Kerry D. Romesburg, Vice President for Academic Affairs Lucille Stoddard, and Englehardt. Englehardt served as the first director. UVU’s commitment to ethics education expanded in 1993 into a school-wide EAC project and funded by a Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) grant. Out of 2,500 applications only 70 were awarded, with UVU receiving $240,000 over three years. In 1996, the CSE received another grant from NEH to fund Ethics K-12 with the three school districts within the UVU vicinity. In 1998, the CSE received a prestigious FIPSE Dissemination Grant Award ($165,000) with the goal of replicating UVU’s successful EAC program at four other institutions: Chaffey College, Loyola University of Chicago, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Utah.

In 1999, Assistant Professor of Philosophy David R. Keller was appointed CSE director. In 2000, a FIPSE grant ($120,000) funded the foundation of a national society, the SEAC. Three UVU faculty of the CSE have been deeply involved with the project: Drs. Englehardt and Keller have served on the Executive Committee, and Drs. Brian D. Birch, Englehardt, and Keller have all served as Editors of the journal, Teaching Ethics, UVU’s first nationally-distributed academic refereed print journal. In February 2001, the EAC program earned UVU the first place honor of the prestigious Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Faculty Development to Enhance Undergraduate Teaching and Learning. Birch served as Acting Director academic year 2002-2003, during which time he invented the idea of the Utah Democracy Project. In 2008, the CSE was awarded a congressionally-directed grant of $191,593.00 to implement the Utah Democracy Project in the service area of UVU, namely, Utah County and the Third Congressional District. The project continues as one of the CSE’s signature initiatives.