Skip to main content

One Book

We Need to Talk


2019-2020 Selection:

We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations that Matter

"We Need to Talk"  "They are, perhaps, the most dreaded four words in the English language. But in this timely, insightful, and wonderfully practical book, Celeste Headlee—a public radio host—makes the case that they are urgently needed." - Book excerpt

Common Intellectual Experiences are one of ten high impact practices identified by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). What better way to launch a successful college career than by engaging in a meaningful conversation about relevant topics!

The One Book Committee welcomes ideas from the university community to support inclusion in the first-year curriculum, as well as for events and programming. Please contact the office of Student Transitions if you wish to get involved and join the conversation early!

Campus Theme: Sustainability & Environment

 Degree Plus

About the Book:

This book is not about public speaking. It is about mastering the art of civil discourse, about reconnecting with our humanity - one to one.

  • Conversation is a survival skill.
  • Listen! Sometimes we shouldn't talk.
  • Empathy is vital to successful conversation.
  • Meaningful connection requires an investment of time.

The 2019 Selection Committee

Celeste Headlee


“In order to have important conversations, you will sometimes have to check your opinions at the door. There is no belief so strong that it cannot be set aside temporarily in order to learn from someone who disagrees. Don’t worry; your beliefs will still be there when you’re done.”  

--- Celeste Headlee
Author's Website



Designed with a focus on the power of conversation and civil discourse, sponsored programs will illuminate the interconnected and limitless potential of scholarship, creative and critical thinking, and problem solving skills that invite diverse perspectives.

  • The Conversation Pit
          A ball-pit designed to invite students to engage in conversations ‘in the pit’
          Week of Welcome activity
          Times & Location TBA
  • A Conversation with Celeste Headlee
          A conversation with the author, followed by a reception and book signing.
          Monday, October 28th at 6:00 PM
          UC Grand Room
  • Interviewing Techniques Workshop Series
    Facilitated by the Communication Department
         Details TBA
  • Department Panel Discussion Series
    Join us as participating departments host a series of panel discussions designed to model 
         exemplary civial discourse about topics that matter within and beyond their discipline.
         Details TBA. 

    CONNECTING THE DOTS: Campus Theme and other points of connection

    Many programs are being designed to help students make the valuable connection between the book and the theme, both flagship programs are defined as Common Intellectual Experiences, one of ten High Impact Practices defined by AAC&U. Please visit this link often for updates and additions!

  • How to Pass Legislations on an Environmental Issue
          A one-day workshop for students.
         Details TBA.
  • Participatory Budget Process
     Student teams discover the ins and outs of the politics and negotiation tactics and learn the communication           and conversation skills required for a success.
         Details TBA.



The mission of the One Book program is to engage first-year students, as well as the campus community, in a common intellectual experience that promotes critical thinking and interdisciplinary conversation. This experience will allow participants to strengthen academic skills, create connections with peers, instructors, and community members, and relate universal themes to personal experience and identity. The program seeks to reflect WCU’s core values and responsibilities as a regionally engaged university.

One Book committee members will serve as ambassadors who aid in integrating reading selection themes into course curricula, campus events, service learning opportunities, and departmental goals. The selection committee comprises individuals from across campus, ensuring that values and views of all academic units are considered and represented.

The One Book Experience Will:

  • Introduce clear expectations of academic performance and engagement
  • Create opportunities to reveal and explore notions of community
  • Reflect the University’s mission and core values
  • Integrate book themes into course curricula, particularly transition course curricula
  • Encourage interaction among peers, instructors, campus and local community members
  • Foster interdisciplinary discourse and partnership
  • Offer diverse perspectives and cultural exploration
  • Stimulate student self-discovery and personal development
  • Inspire participation and support from faculty and administrators by clearly conveying the book’s relevance to the academic experience and student enrichment.
Office of Web Services