Story by Sabra Jackson, Staff writer
Winfield Rose, professor of political science, has spent half a century in the classroom, devoting his time to enriching his students’ education.
“I think for the most part, they have been fun,” Rose said. “I love to teach. I love my students, or all of those that will allow me to love them. I have been richly blessed.”
Rose taught at one high school before entering higher education as a college professor, where he spent 39 years teaching at Murray State.
Rose’s family is not a stranger to the teaching world. His mother was a high school English and Latin teacher and his father was a businessman. Rose said his aunt and uncles were always known for being intelligent and he enjoyed the conversation during family gatherings about politics.
Rose feels as though his gift is the ability to break down complicated subjects into their key components, which he said is a vital role in teaching.
Rose said he believes the most important factor in student success is teacher expectation. He said if he did not expect his students to do well, they would not.
“I care about my students as people, as individuals, as people with stories and with issues and problems,” Rose said. “I try to motivate them to do their best.”
Rose said his life has been based around academia. He started school at the age of four and has continued his education.
“I was always inclined toward school and that’s really all I have done all my life,” Rose said.
He has not missed more than 10 days in his 39 years at Murray State.
Schuyler Vowell, junior from Mayfield, Kentucky, said Rose is his favorite professor because he always encourages him.
“He’s just got so much passion and joy for teaching,” Vowell said. “He’s been doing it for over 40 years, and yet he approaches it like it’s his first year of teaching. He literally has that much passion for the subject matter and that much passion for the students.”
Vowell said if it was not for Rose, he would not still be attending school.
Lucas Reed, senior from Paducah, Kentucky, has taken two of Rose’s classes, and said Rose is approachable if he needs help with classes or just advice.
“He is a very interesting character,” Reed said. “He is not afraid to express his opinions.”
Rose helped Reed decide where he wanted to go with his degree, which was political science at the time, and how politics would fit into that degree.
“He’s one of the main reasons I ran in the SGA election this past year against Tori Wood,” Reed said. “Although I did not win, I still learned a lot of lessons through him, sort of encouraging me to go out and try some of those things.”
Ryan Bitters, senior from Owensboro, Kentucky, said Rose can be intimidating at first in the classroom, because of how smart he is and how high his expectations are.
“He’s the kind of teacher that you pay attention to what he says,” Bitters said. “Anytime he can come up with something, you can use it as a quote. He’s been through so much and studied so much through his Ph.D.”
Bitters said Rose invests in his students and goes out of his way for them.
Bitters’ favorite memory of Rose is going to his house to see his World War II collection and learning from him.
Rose has received the Golden Apple Award, presented by the Murray State University Alumni Association and the Max Carmen Outstanding Teacher Award, voted on by present students.
Rose plans on traveling and substitute teaching after retirement in December 2017.