Alabama Commission on Higher Education

The executive director of Alabama’s Commission on Higher Education plans to retire at the end of this year.

The commission announced yesterday that Gregory Fitch will end his 45-year career in education this year. He has led Alabama’s coordinating board for higher education since July 2006.

Fitch says he notified the commission of his retirement plans in June. Vice Chairman Randy McKinney of Gulf Shores has been tapped to lead the search committee to find a replacement director.

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Alabama education officials say more than a third of college freshman from the state needed remedial coursework last fall.

Deputy Superintendent of Education, Sherrill Parris, says the amount of students who graduated high school and needed remedial coursework factored into Plan 2020 — a statewide initiative to improve education over the next seven years.

Parris and executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Gregory Fitch, say standards requiring students to enroll in remedial courses varies between the state's public colleges and universities.