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Common Experience

Common Read

The Common Read is provided to all incoming students to provide a shared intellectual experience through exploration and discussion. This year’s Common Read is Celeste Headlee’s We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter, which addresses society’s breakdown in communication, despite being more connected than ever before. We Need to Talk tackles this problem head-on with a simple solution: we need to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, Headlee outlines the techniques that have made her a better conversationalist—and offers simple tools that can improve anyone’s communication.

Celeste Headlee is a classically trained opera singer and an award-winning journalist who has appeared on NPR, PBS World, PRI, CNN, BBC and other international networks. She formerly hosted the daily talk show On Second Thought for Georgia Public Broadcasting, and anchored shows including Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Until September of 2012, Celeste was the co-host of the national morning news show, The Takeaway, from PRI and WNYC. She anchored presidential coverage in 2012 for PBS World Channel. For many years, she has been a mentor and managing editor for NPR’s Next Generation Radio Project, training young reporters and editors in broadcasting.

In addition to small group discussions of the book during this year’s Academic Orientation, Celeste Headlee will be on campus on September 20 to speak with the Class of 2022. 

We Need to Talk is one element of our 2018 – 2019 Common Experience “Conversations that Matter.” The Common Experience engages the campus community in an exploration of a topic or issue that requires interdisciplinary thought and collaborative action. Over the 2018 – 2019 academic year, faculty, staff, and students from every discipline on campus will reflect on the  importance of conversation in an ever-changing world. Our events and resources page provides supplemental links, videos, and articles related to We Need to Talk. 

Faculty & Staff: Sign up to be a small group discussion facilitator