The school that God asked Gateway Church pastor Robert Morris to host is having a rough patch. According to the most recent board of directors report, the school has lost three branch locations since 2015 and may close another (Olathe, KS) very soon.
Currently, on TKU’s website, Morris promotes the multi-campus model and claims that TKU will expand the number of locations by 2018.
The school boasts that plans call for “20 or more campuses worldwide by 2018.” However, a review of the recent board report paints a different picture. Most students attend the Southlake campus with significant declines in number of credit hours at most campus locations. Three locations have left TKU since 2015 (see the locations in dark grey below).
According to the report, no documentation exists for the Hong Kong campus and the NZ campus is under review. Olathe is being reviewed to determine if it is “feasible to continue.”
In the May 2016 president’s report, it is clear that the administrative staff want to move away from multiple campuses:
First, I (along with the administrative staff) have concluded that it would be in the school’s best interest to pivot away from the directive to establish teaching locations on (at least 30) mega-church campuses. The past three years have provided us with ample evidence to conclude that this labor intensive, complicated, expensive plan is not producing the kind of results we had hoped (see Teaching Locations Map on page 46).
Additionally, we have experienced some significant setbacks in our campus extension efforts. For instance, one year ago we were operating on 10 extension sites around the country with two other locations approved and preparing to launch. However, at the end of this academic year, for various reasons, we are positioned to go into the next academic year with only 7 sites in operation (none larger than 60 students) and neither “approved” location willing to move forward (see Teaching Locations Map on page 46).
Second, these “setbacks” have contributed to our resolve to pivot away from this campus expansion model and embrace instead a two-pronged strategy that emphasizes the intensifying efforts to build a healthy, dynamic home campus with over 1,000 resident student by 2022.
In the April 2016 executive committee minutes, one of four challenges was to change the multi-campus model.
With most campuses in decline, it hard to understand how TKU (or Gateway University as it will soon be known) gets to 20 campuses by 2018. In fact, it appears that the board is going to move away from that approach altogether because at least five of the campuses are stagnant and creating a drain on TKU’s limited resources.
To be fair to TKU, enrollment is up to 747 total students (502 FTE) which represents a 55% increase over five years. However, the promise of a growing multi-location system appears to have faded without prospective students’ knowledge.
Current students who cannot transfer may be left without a clear way forward. Since TKU is not regionally accredited, their credits won’t transfer to accredited schools.
I wonder if campus coordinators are aware that they will be closed down. The ethical thing to do would be to discourage any new enrollments since those students won’t have a future at the regional campus.
What this will probably mean for Gateway Church is a greater burden on their budget since the school now relies on a $1/year lease of facilities as well as cash donations to TKU. Since everything is moving to Southlake, the expenses for a residential campus will no doubt require a greater commitment from the church.