Scene Design Assistant Professor Eduardo Sicangco has been named recipient of a 2023 University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. He joined the scene design faculty of the School of Design and Production in 2011, after having served as an adjunct professor there starting in 2005.
He is one of 17 outstanding faculty members representing all of North Carolina’s public universities and the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics who received the awards.
UNCSA Chancellor Brian Cole said, “Eduardo Sicangco is a true master of his craft who has amassed a spectacular body of work that will be his legacy to this industry. We are fortunate that he has chosen to share his knowledge and experience with our students for so many years. His contributions and connections to the industry have been vital to helping them launch and sustain successful careers in the arts.”
Each of the winners will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize, and will be honored at each of their institutions at a future date. Winners were nominated by special committees at each institution and selected by the Board of Governors Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs. The awards were established by the board in 1993 to highlight the importance of teaching and to recognize the extraordinary contributions of faculty members systemwide.
“Education, a core pillar of our University mission, is made stronger by passionate, innovative teachers,” said Board of Governors Chair Randy Ramsey. “These world-class faculty members choose to be part of our outstanding public institutions, and we are grateful for their service to North Carolinians. Congratulations to all on these well-deserved awards.”
UNC System President Peter Hans said, "It is an honor to recognize our faculty and the tremendous work they do in classrooms across the UNC System. I offer my deepest thanks and congratulations to them.”
Sicangco’s prolific four-decade career as a set and costume designer serves as a foundation for his love of teaching and his desire to support and challenge his students to grow into their best selves as artists. As he says in his teaching philosophy: “Essentially, I strive to instill in my students, by example, three qualities that I believe a successful artist must have: curiosity, joy and tenacity… . I prize and aim to develop the student’s individuality in style, sensibility, approach and the formulating of ideas. I believe in a kind, relaxed and collaborative classroom atmosphere, where students can – without hesitation – ask about and critique each other’s work and learn from each other. I stress critical thinking: to always question the text at hand and how it relates to a story being told to a modern audience.”
Sicangco’s nominations include statements from both current and former students who agree in their admiration for their teacher’s artistry and pedagogy. One student said, “His knowledge is incredibly valuable in an educational setting and he shares his experience through his teaching. He is kind, clearly cares deeply about his students and their success, (and is) honest in critique in order to help his students reach their potential.” An alumnus wrote: “(He) is the embodiment of what UNCSA desires from their faculty. His phenomenal career is only matched by his dedication to pushing his students to create the highest quality work.”
Sicangco holds a B.A. in mass communications from Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines) and an M.F.A. in stage design from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Prior to joining the faculty at UNCSA, he held the title of Master Teacher of Design at Tisch for eight years.
He is a 2021 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology, and has numerous other accolades that highlight the importance of his art. His work has been seen on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in major regional theaters and spaces across the U.S. and around the world, including Radio City Music Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Madison Square Garden, Las Vegas showrooms and international productions.
His design credits include "Cavalleria Rusticana," “Pagliacci" and "Carmen" for New York City Opera; "Babes in Toyland" for Houston Grand Opera; "Manon," "La traviata" and "L'Elisir d'Amore" for Virginia Opera; Donald Byrd’s "The Harlem Nutcracker" and "The Gershwin Celebration" for Brooklyn Academy of Music and PBS; "The Spring Spectacular" for Radio City Music Hall; "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" on Broadway; and "Das Barbecü" off-Broadway.
He is featured in the Lynn Pecktal books "Costume Design — Techniques of Modern Masters" and "Drawing and Painting for the Theater." He also was the subject of “From Inspiration to Illusion, the Scenographic Works of Eduardo Sicangco,” a career retrospective at the Ayala Museum in the Philippines, where he was born.
Sicangco is one of six permanent faculty members and one adjunct faculty member honored with UNCSA Excellence in Teaching Awards earlier this year. Others include Tamara Akinbo, High School Academic Program; Christopher Dorr, School of Filmmaking; Ilya Kozadayev, School of Dance; Brooks Whitehouse, School of Music; Jennet Zerbe, School of Dance; and adjunct faculty member Ann-Louise Wolf, an alumna, School of Drama.
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April 26, 2023