ZOU went to university as a forestry major during the period ranging from September 1983 through July 1987 in Beijing Forestry University, following which he took up a job in the university and started his career. He got his master degree in the Agriculture Faculty of Okayama University in Japan (October 1990 through March 1993) before working on his doctorate degree on part time basis from September 2002 through June 2005. He worked as the second secretary in the Chinese Embassy in Japan from February 1998 to February 2001. After resuming his job in BFU, he was consecutively appointed deputy director of the General Administrative Office (April 2001 through December 2002), secretary of the CPC Sub-committee of the School of Resources and Environment, Director of the General Office of Party and Administrative Work, and director of the Organization Division under the BFU CPC Committee, during his service on the last post of which he also became a member of the Standing Committee of BFU CPC Committee (December 2018 onwards) and the concurrent dean of the School of Humanities (May 2019 onwards). He assumed his post as the vice president of BFU in January 2020.
Chiefly responsible for campus security, finance, retiree affairs, information computerization, procurement and bidding, forest plant and community work, he, in addition to serving concurrently as the dean of the School of Humanities, is directly in charge of the Security Department, the Financial Department, the Lab Administrative Office, the Retiree Affairs Office, the Information Center, the Management Center of Procurement and Bidding, the Experimental Forest Plant, and the Community Administration. He is also the designated university liaison to the School of Water and Soil Conservation, the School of Engineering, the School of Information Science, and the School of Environmental Sciences and Engineering.