Smooth transition from the CF into teaching

Smooth transition from the CF into teaching

A/SLt 24498 Noelani Shore (RMC 2009)

As a Logistics Officer, 16902 Kurt Schobel (RMC 1989) focused his career on how to support operations. In this role, he was interested in what the operators were doing, and how he could help them.

“If you just sit in your office, and just worry about financial systems, it gets pretty boring,” he explained. “But if you get out there and talk to the operators, it can be pretty exciting.”

Schobel worked for the Canadian Forces from 1985 until 2005, and he has been teaching at the college since his retirement from the forces.

He does not have any military history in his family, but Schobel looked to RMC all the same. In the poor economic climate in 1985, “I couldn’t afford to pay for school; I needed a place where they would pay me to go to school,” he laughed. “It started with a need for money, but when I came here on a tour, I thought the college was a neat place.”

Mr. Schobel was a varsity volleyball player, “so that was pretty well my focus,” he said.

While he wants to play in the Alumni games, his knee injury prevents him from joining in. “I go to the games though, and I still have my RMC jacket that I’ll wear to some of the games.”

After graduation, Schobel had a number of interesting postings; he was posted to Trenton, and participated in Op SCIMITAR, which was the First Gulf War. He spent time in Cyprus, the Golan Heights, Israel, and Syria.

“These were all great experiences because not many people at the time were getting these opportunities. I was also part of the Joint Staff in Ottawa, and my job was to audit all of the UN missions that we had. So I got to go out to all of the active missions. Then I spent three years in Colorado Springs as the Comptroller of Canadian Forces Support Unit.”

Every one of his postings was exciting, and he was glad to experience of so many different places. As a Finance Logistics Officer, he realizes that he’s gotten to see a lot.

“I got to fly in the back of a F-18 for about 22 hours. To me, that was as much fun as doing a deployment in the Middle East.”

Upon retirement in 2005, Schobel “went out on a high,” he said. “My second last day in the military was a flight in an F-18, so I have absolutely no regrets. I went out on literally full afterburner,” he explained.

Schobel completed his MBA from 2000-02, and he realized that he enjoyed the teaching that went along with the education.

“I thought this would be a great second career for me that would match with my family needs, and also to get back to this place because I really do believe in the college.”

It has been a great experience for Schobel to return to the college.

“I went here as an undergraduate and as a graduate student. There are small classes, I get to know all the students, they’re interested in what you have to say, and the experience is similar. I’m actually jealous of the students because they’re facing a time when there’s money being pumped into the Forces,” he said. “I just loved coming back here, and there’s not a day that I think about teaching that I’m not happy to be here.”

An Assistant Professor in the Business Department, he also has other responsibilities as the Executive Director for RMC’s MBA and Master of Arts and Security Defence Management Policy. His primary responsibilities are teaching and research, as well as the administration of the two graduate programs.

“I also try to promote RMC within DND. I’ll often travel to education fairs to promote the graduate activities that we’re doing. Any time that students have any questions about our graduate programs, they’ll contact me. I’ll help them before they’re students, and then I’ll send them to the chair of the program once they decide to study at RMC.”

As the Executive Director, Schobel works with the certified Accountants of Ontario, and they have mapped their program with the RMC program in a way that allows members in the graduate program to get their CMA designation in a much shorter period and for less cost, which is a great benefit to people in the Logistics trade.

“It’s been so successful that they want to start mapping our undergrad program, and now Certified General Accountants of Ontario have contacted me, and they want to do the same thing. So when I hear students thinking that the degrees they’re getting aren’t worthwhile – here we have two professional designations that want to be aligned with RMC because they see the students here as quite amazing. Our students are unique, and they should be proud of what they’re doing here, and they shouldn’t downplay the education they receive, it’s very worthwhile.”

Schobel appreciates what the cadets are going through better than most, because he worked through his schooling at RMC as well. It is decidedly a different time, but some of the changes are for the better.

“I think the cadets are invigorated by the potential career that they have. I can talk about some stories from my career with them, and that’s something I enjoy. They’re all eager to get out there and experience what’s happening, because right now the military is in a great spot in that they’re active – there are lots of operations. I was in a Cold War type of mentality, when you were lucky to get a UN mission – that was a big deal in your career, and now it’s expected that you’ll be out in the field within months of graduating. They’re pretty excited about that opportunity.”

Even though the cadets are pulled in many different directions, they have the energy and the drive to get everything finished.

Interacting with the cadets is, for Schobel, very rewarding.

“When you can see a student who has been struggling with something, and when you see that light come on, it makes every long night worthwhile. I also teach online, and every now and then you get a student who goes – I finally get it – and that is so rewarding.”