Zachary Mills

Educational Background

Ph.D, 2017

Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Major: Communication Studies/Rhetoric and Public Culture


Master of Arts, 2015

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Major: Rhetoric/Homiletics

Secondary Area: Literary Criticism/Vernacular Theory


Master of Divinity, 2008

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Major: Rhetoric/Homiletics

Secondary Area: Social Justice


B.A., 2003

Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Major: Print Journalism

Minor: Religious Studies


Dr. Zach W. Mills is a Lecturer in Wenzhou-Kean University’s School of Communication, Media, and Journalism. He studies the intersections of race, rhetoric, religion, media, and popular culture and is the author of the Amazon Bestseller and award-winning biography about civil rights hero Reverend Clay Evans entitled, The Last Blues Preacher: Reverend Clay Evans, Black Lives, and the Faith that Woke the Nation. The Last Blues Preacher won best biography in the 2019 International Book Awards and was named an Award-Winning Finalist in the Biography category of the 2019 Best Book Awards.

Dr. Mills graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2003 with a major in Print Journalism and a minor in Religious Studies; a Master of Divinity communication and social justice; a Master of Arts focusing on African American preaching, rhetoric, and literary criticism; and a Ph.D in Rhetoric and Public Culture from Northwestern University. His dissertation on Chicago’s WVON Radio entitled “Talking Drum” won the 2017 Graduate Dissertation Award, a competitive award granted to a student enrolled in one of the doctoral programs supported by Northwestern University’s Communication Studies Department.

He has taught communication courses at several U.S. institutions including Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Belmont University. He has taught communication classes throughout China with Toronto-based educational startup OneClass, recently featured in Forbes. This fall he will join the faculty at Wenzhou-Kean University in Wenzhou, China as a lecturer in the Communication Studies Department and as the founding director of the university’s first Speech & Communications Lab.

He serves as a contractor for Toronto-based educational startup OneClass and their Chinese affiliate EasyKe, and he has taught public speaking, rhetorical analysis, and business and organizational communication classes to students in Beijing, Shandong, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Jinan, Zhengzhou, Xi’an, Shanghai, Nanjing, Ningbo, Haimen, Chengdu, and Chongqing.

Through his writing, speaking, teaching, and consulting Dr. Mills works to inspire change and help people find and develop authentic voices – especially within unfamiliar and challenging environments. He is a storyteller who uses the power of words to help people thrive in their personal and professional lives. He believes teaching people to become more informed, intentional, and compassionate communicators can make the world a better place.


Research interests

Race, Religion, and Media

Selected Publications/scholarly and creative work

The Last Blues Preacher (Fortress Press, 2018): The Last Blues-Preacher: Rev. Clay Evans, Black Lives, and the Voice that Woke a Nation chronicles the life and ministry of Chicago civil rights hero, gospel singer, and pastor Rev. Clay Evans. The biography includes an oral history from historic figures such as Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Min. Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Congressman Bobby Rush, and former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. The Last Blues Preacher won best biography in the 2019 International Book Awards and was awarded as a Finalist in the category of “Biography” in the 2019 Best Book Awards.


“You’re Not Who You Say You Are,” the American Theological Library Association Summary Proceedings, September 2011.


“Beyond the Gates of Gilead,” The African American Pulpit, (Volume 11, Number 2 2008): 42-46.


“Our New Earth and God’s New Heaven,” Journal of Religion and Abuse, (Volume 8, Number 4 2008): 73-80.


COMM 1402: Communication as Critical Citizenship


COMM 2405: Advanced Public Speaking


COMM 2503: Mass Media


COMM 3510: Persuasive Communication


COMM 3530: Communicating Across Cultures