Tim Schuring is Utrecht University's Alumnus of the Year

Geography teacher Tim Schuring has been named Alumnus of the Year by Utrecht University. He received this honorary title on Tuesday 26 March in the Dom Church during the celebration of the university's 388th anniversary, the Dies Natalis.

With the election of Tim Schuring as Alumnus of the Year 2023, the university emphasises the importance of good and inspiring education, especially in light of the acute shortage of teachers. This year, several faculties called for special attention to teachers and nominated alumni who manifest themselves in education in special, inspiring and progressive ways. So did the Geosciences faculty, from which Schuring was nominated.

Tim Schuring is an extraordinarily driven and creative teacher who wishes you every child or student for all subjects.

The jury on the election

'By choosing Tim Schuring, we are happy to respond to the appeal of faculties to underline the special position that our alumni can have in education. Tim is a role model and ideal ambassador for this. He is an extraordinarily driven and creative teacher who you wish every child or student for all subjects. What also distinguishes him is his involvement in almost all levels of education, from pre-vocational secondary education to university. The fact that he also builds in interdisciplinarity and collaboration with relevant external parties makes him the rightful winner.'

Tim Schuring obtained a bachelor's degree in Earth Sciences, a master's degree in Earth Surface and Water and a master's degree in Preparatory Higher Education in Geography at our university. Since 2020, he has been a teacher of Geography in secondary education, at St. Bonifatius College in Utrecht. There he developed into an excellent, innovative, creative and beloved teacher who is focused on strengthening the field and who knows how to interest students in his profession in a variety of ways. Tim also works at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, as a teacher trainer in Physical Geography and Geography teaching methodology.

Photo by Bas van Hattum

Edible home-garden-and-kitchen experiments

Tim is a colourful person with an enormous passion for geography and education, who knows how to inspire and enthuse his students and colleagues with his own approach and style, as is clear from the nomination and jury report. In the world of geography, he is known for his 'culinary geography': edible home-garden-and-kitchen experiments to clarify earth science concepts and processes. Tim travels through Utrecht with students in an open-top bus to show geographical phenomena and examples of planning in their own environment. He takes students to Texel to study the landscape with the help of drones. Tim also designed virtual field trips as an alternative to fieldwork and uses pop songs to address geographical misconceptions.

Tim is actively involved in Geo Future School;an educational stream for VMBO, HAVO and VWO, where students are introduced to the major challenges facing our society, such as climate change, health, globalization, energy, water, cities and geopolitics. It is about cross-curricular integrated education in collaboration with companies and institutions. In addition to being a teacher, Tim is also a teacher-developer and, as a regional coordinator, he also supervises other schools in creating modules. Within the Royal Dutch Geographical Society (KNAG) he also organises 'Teachmeets' where teachers exchange ideas to further improve education.

Alumnus of the Year

With the honorary title of Alumnus of the Year, Utrecht University underlines that alumni are an important and integral part of the academic community. Together with students, scientists, alumni, social partners, the government and the business community, the university is looking for solutions to the societal challenges of our time. An Alumnus of the Year is someone who brings progress in his or her field and dares to step off the beaten track, a socially engaged person who knows how to inspire today's students. Previous Alumni of the Year were: Marjan Minnesma (2015), Feike Sijbesma (2016), Cathelijne Broers (2017), Jan Beuving (2018), Rutger Bregman (2020), Marion Koopmans (2021) and Eva González Pérez (2022).


The jury for the award consists of alumni Marjan Minnesma (chairman, director of Urgenda), José van Dijck (university professor, board member of the Utrecht University Fund), Chiara Stam (student assessor of the Executive Board), Adriaan ter Braack (science journalist) and Maurice Unck (general director of Mail Nederland PostNL, vice-president of the Utrecht University Fund).

The UU works together with secondary schools and the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht on the quality of education and a good connection to higher education. There are various activities for both havo/vwo students and teachers, such as U-Talent, professionalization of teachers, research and activities for students. Read more about this collaboration (in Dutch). In addition to these activities, the university offers various teacher training programmes, from minor to master, and we conduct research into the teacher shortage, for example in the large research project 'More Hours Works!' ('Meer uren werkt!').